While the NCAA Tournament is stealing headlines, here are some NFL offseason notes for those who, like me, believe football is a year-round sport.
Perhaps the biggest story this NFL offseason has been the dismantling of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. Through retirement, trade, release, and free agency, the Ravens have lost many of the pieces that enabled them to win the Super Bowl.
Perhaps the most difficult loss for Ravens fans has come in the form of Ed Reed signing with the Houston Texans. In addition to other factors, Reed has declared that winning a championship was one of his reasons for bolting to Houston--a comment emblematic of the fact that Baltimore has now fallen behind the AFC’s elite.
In an effort to build the team back up, the Ravens are now targeting former Bronco Elvis Dumervil.The elite pass rusher would be an upgrade from departed Paul Kruger and would allow the Ravens to focus their draft picks on filling significant needs at wide receiver, offensive tackle, middle linebacker, and safety.
Another former Bronco has already latched onto another team, as troubled but versatile linebacker D.J. Williams has signed with the Chicago Bears as the team attempts to replace the loss of Nick Roach (who signed with the Oakland Raiders) and future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher.
Urlacher himself is sure to be a commodity in free agency as he has one or two solid years of production left and brings some great intangibles to a locker room. Contenders like the Packers, Vikings, Ravens, or Broncos could be interested, or he could be a fit for a team looking to get there like the Bengals, Raiders, Cardinals, or Cowboys.
Finally, in a move that could have dramatic ramifications for the NFL Draft next month, the Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly shopping left tackle Brandon Albert, with the Dolphins and Chargers seen as the most likely suitors. Kansas City is said to want two picks, including a second rounder in this year’s draft in exchange for Albert. The Chiefs had been praised for their ability to retain Albert and star receiver Dwayne Bowe.
If the Chiefs can deal Albert, they would almost certainly take either Eric Fisher or Luke Joeckel to fill the void at tackle. If not, the Chiefs could opt to beef up their defensive line or perhaps add in elite corner Dee Milliner with the #1 overall pick.