On May 13, 2016, the Baltimore Ravens signed free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers to a one-year deal worth $1.75 million, with the .75 portion guaranteed. That date is crucial to keep in mind because it was just one day after the deadline for which free agent signings would impact the compensatory pick formula.
The signing itself is also crucial because the Ravens have been in need of cornerbacks. Aside from the fact that their top cornerback, Jimmy Smith, is ailing while trying to recover from an injury, Lardarius Webb has converted to safety as well.
The team acquired Shareece Wright last year and is currently projected to start across from Smith, but Powers figures to start in the slot, ahead of Kyle Arrington and rookie fourth-round draft pick Tavon Young.
According to at least one teammate, he is also acclimating himself very well to that role in the Ravens’ defense, as Smith told reporters during spring drills that “Jerraud Powers is kind of dominating everyone. I think he has like five or six picks”.
It should probably be noted that interceptions are no doubt a bit easier to come by in spring drills, especially this year for the Ravens, while starting quarterback Joe Flacco is still rehabbing from a torn ACL and I don’t believe he has actually participated in any full-on team drills.
Despite the fact that he is 5’10” and 187 pounds, Powers has predominantly been an outside cornerback in his career, but he came into this offseason with the intention of expanding his repertoire to becoming a highly skilled slot cornerback as well, and the Ravens were a team that would give him the opportunity to do that.
“I knew if I wanted to extend my career”, he said, “I wanted an opportunity to play nickel. I think my attributes best fit that position”. Powers is a player that I and others here thought would be a good target for the Steelers as well for similar reasons.
The 28-year old veteran of seven prior seasons said that he had the opportunity to sign a multi-year deal with two separate teams, “but opted to wait”. Of course, such claims always have to be taken with a grain of salt, as Brandon Boykin’s free agency saga has taught us.
“I could have got off the market quick”, he said, “but I felt like the number I was offered, I didn’t want to be stuck somewhere where I felt my value was less than it was. I’m willing to bet on myself for a year, and hopefully I’ll be here long-term when it’s all said and done”.
So he’s hoping that a one-year prove it deal turns into a long-term contract when he hits free agency again next year, and at least initial reports are in his favor, having been the most highly-regarded defensive player for the Ravens by the coaching staff thus far in spring drills.