This may not be indicative of a larger house-cleaning trend, but the Ravens have released three-time Pro Bowler Chris McAlister. The oft-injured cornerback's departure frees up $8 million in salary-cap space, which could be used to find his replacement. Or if Ray Lewis has any say in the matter, to pay him.
Not long ago, McAlister was considered one of the NFL's most physical corners, often matched up against opponents' best receivers. He has 26 picks and 89 passes defended in his 10-year career, although he last played a full 16-game schedule in 2006.
Still, he's just 31, and when healthy, very good at what he does. Which is why it wouldn't be completely surprising if McAlister ends up with his old defensive coordinator, Rex Ryan, who's now the Jets' head coach.
The Newark Star-Ledger's Dave Hutchinson writes that "Don't be surprise if the Jets are among the teams to express interest in McAlister. Cornerback is perhaps the Jets' biggest position of need and new Jets coach Rex Ryan is intimately familiar with McAlister ... Last season, McAlister clashed with rookie head coach John Harbaugh, which undoubtedly hastened his departure."
Ah, yes, McAlister's "clash" with Harbaugh. Apparently, the vet lost his luggage during the team's October trip to Miami to face the Dolphins. He opted to go travel casual, sporting a "t-shirt and shorts in the lobby of the team hotel prior to kickoff Sunday morning while his teammates were dressed in suits." Harbaugh opted to demote McAlister for the game.
In the scheme of things, hardly a big deal, but certainly enough for Harbaugh to make a point to the rest of the team.
Whatever, McAlister is now free to hawk his wares elsewhere, and New York seems like a perfect fit. Along with Darrelle Revis the Jets would have two solid cornerbacks, and not only that, but the team could then use its first-round pick to address other needs. Like, say, quarterback. Assuming, of course, the new coaching staff doesn't have faith in Kellen Clemens/Brett Ratliff/random free agent pick-up. And, more importantly, as long as Joe Namath approves. Obviously.
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Bill Kostroun, AP
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Mark Humphrey, AP
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Rob Carr, AP
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