It went under the radar last week, but strong safety Jeromy Miles re-signed with the Ravens, terms undisclosed, but probably 1 year at the league veteran minimum with not a whole lot of guaranteed money. And yet Miles represents what could turn out to be the Ravens' best bet as they shop for depth at the safety position.
Miles is 6-2, 215, and was claimed off waivers last year from the Cincinnati Bengals, who had signed him as an undrafted free agent out of Massachusetts back in 2010. On September 23, 2013 he was signed by the Ravens. Miles mostly contributed on special teams for the Ravens, finishing his season with 10 total tackles.
That the Ravens wanted him back for another look in 2014 says a lot about the 26-year-old's untapped potential.
Miles is one of 4 unrestricted free agents from last year's team who have been re-signed. (Wednesday the team also made an offer to tight end Ed Dickson, but he has not officially been re-signed at this writing.)
Here's the Ravens' UFA box score as of March 19th, 2014:
|PLAYER||POS||FA TYPE||2014 TEAM|
|J. McClain||LB||Released||NY Giants|
I left Brandon Stokley off that list because he has retired.
Clearly the Ravens have to begin stockpiling some help at the safety position. Signing Miles is a start—basically a depth move, but Jeromy Miles will get a long look for more playing time at strong safety in training camp this summer.
James Ihedigbo is still out there testing free agency. He's still got some game left, but big offers are not coming his way, mostly due perhaps to his being on the wrong side of 30.
Salary cap does not appear to be an issue right now in signing a free agent safety in the $3-4 million range. With linebacker Daryl Smith's four-year, $16.1 million contract officially on the books, the Baltimore Ravens now have $8.981 million left in salary-cap space.
More likely the Ravens will attempt to draft a top safety prospect in the early rounds and choose to build with what they've already got.
Evidence of that is they also just re-signed exclusive right free agent Brynden Trawick — you know, the poor kid who accidentally knocked out his own teammate Jacoby Jones last September while setting up his block on a punt return.
Per exclusive rights free agent rules, Trawick, 24, had no other option but to re-sign with Baltimore if he wanted to continue in the NFL.
The Ravens released Trawick after three games last year and re-signed him to their practice squad. They promoted him back to the 53-man roster on Oct. 30.
Trawick played in five of the final nine regular-season games and finished the year with eight special teams tackles, tied for the fourth most on the team. He’ll likely again battle for a spot on the team via special teams and as a defensive reserve.
Last season, Trawick and wide receiver
The Ravens are banking on improvement from their top pick at safety last season, Matt Elam.
They would love to draft another like him. The Draft will be held May 8-10 this season, and the Ravens clearly hope a whole bunch of QB's are taken early, leaving them some tasty pickin's for a top-rated safety, among other positions like OT, WR and TE.
Until the Draft, it will be Omar Brown, Elam, Miles, Trawick, Anthony Levine, Christian Thompson … and perhaps a free agent yet to be named —- (Ryan Clark ?) —- manning the fort at free safety for the Ravens.
The talk is the Ravens want to move Matt Elam from FS to the strong safety position to focus on what he does best—stopping the run and short patterns— so ideally they are looking for a guy who's more comfortable and accomplished at the free safety position— more of a mid-to-deep coverage ball-hawking skill set.