Monday the Ravens announced the signing of veteran free agent tight end Dallas Clark. I thought this might be a no-brainer for Ozzie Newsome, given the injuries and sudden lack of depth of experienced tight ends—not just blockers, but guys who can make big receptions under game pressure.
But then I was reminded of some of the doubts about Clark's apparently waning abilities when he was released by the Colts a couple of seasons ago in the Indianapolis team purge.
I have been reassured that Clark still has a lot in the tank as a possession receiver by a few scouts and experts who actually watched him play at Tampa Bay last year.
10-year veteran—An all-pro and pro-bowl season with Peyton Manning (100 catches for over 1,000 yards and 10 TD's in 2009)…6-3, 257, drafted by Indy in the 1st Round (24th overall) in 2003.
Guys are telling me he's still got it— just need a good quarterback to get him the ball. Apparently Josh Freeman down in Tampa was not that QB who had the wide field vision to find Clark a whole lot on 3rd down.
"His familiarity with Jim Caldwell's offense made him the likely candidate…they needed help there. Good pickup for them I think..low risk." — Dutch Rubb, Berks County, Pa. on the Ravens pickup of Dallas Clark.
"[General Manager] Ozzie [Newsome] has an agreement in principle with Dallas Clark as of today,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Sunday after practice at M&T Bank Stadium. "So he’ll be in tomorrow to get a physical. Obviously, all of that is going to have to pan out for us to finalize it, but Dallas Clark is on his way to Baltimore right now.”
Clark, 34, is a former Indianapolis Colt that played under Ravens Offensive Coordinator Jim Caldwell. While playing for Caldwell in Indy, Clark became one of quarterback Peyton Manning's favorite targets.
The 10-year veteran brings strong hands and stability to a tight end position that has dealt with injuries to their two starters in Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.
After nine years in Indianapolis, Clark played for the Tampa Bay Bucs last season, recording 47 receptions for 435 yards and four touchdowns. He has notched 474 catches for 5,322 yards and 50 touchdowns throughout his career.
The additions of both Clark and Stokely give the Ravens two more veteran targets, but Harbaugh made it clear that they are not being handed roster spots.
“They’re both really accomplished players. We’re excited to have them,” Harbaugh said. “By no means though is anything guaranteed, and they understand that. They want an opportunity to compete for a job. They’ll be in competition for a job with our guys that are here, and we’ll see how that plays out. That’s how we like it.”