Clearly the Ravens have needs in their defensive backfield and some believe that DeAngelo Hall could help. What isn’t so clear is if the Ravens will be players for Hall’s services now that he has been released by the Raiders as reported today by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Any team can now put a waiver claim in for Hall. The team with the worst record placing a claim will be awarded the Pro Bowl corner. If no team places a claim on Hall and he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and then any team can negotiate with him.
Yet there are risks associated with a claim for Hall. While he could be perceived as a relative bargain given that the acquiring team is really only liable for the remainder of his $1 million 2008 base salary, acquiring Hall through waivers carries an injury guarantee. Hall has option bonus money due to him to the tune of $16.5 million and that money is guaranteed even if he suffers a career threatening injury. This is the motivating factor behind his release by the Raiders. Oakland’s 2-6 start and Al Davis’ failed on the field investments certainly are contributing factors as well.
As a result of this $16.5 million risk, the guess here is that Hall will clear waivers and if he does clear, Ozzie Newsome could make the call to Hall.
That said Hall won’t come cheaply. Hall has a decent resume and he is young, celebrating his 25th birthday later this month. The Ravens two most pressing needs in the offseason will be corner and wide receiver. If the Ravens believe that there is not a corner of Hall’s ilk when they expect to make their first pick (probably a mid to late first round selection) then they could make a play for the former Raider/Falcon.
But I wouldn’t hold my breath if you are hoping to see Hall in purple and black. Hall has struggled in the traditional Raiders’ press coverage. He was more successful in Atlanta’s Cover 2 scheme. Like his brother Rob, Rex Ryan demands solid man cover skills from his corners. The Ravens interest in Hall will likely last about as long as a phone call between the Ryan brothers if that.
If the Ravens want to look at a Raiders’ corner, they should wait to see what the market will bear for pending free agent Nnamdi Asomugha. Shedding Samari Rolle’s and Chris McAlister’s 2009 salary could pave the way for some Aso consideration.
I say take a Hall pass for now...