No deal is in place and no terms have been finalized -- my colleague Aaron Wilson says it would likely be a one-year deal -- so it's hard to evaluate the potential signing from a cost standpoint, though I can't imagine McClain being too pricy. Still, the potential deal would at least be a risky signing from a team image standpoint.
McClain allegedly threatened to kill a man and fired a gun next to his head during a fight two years ago. Raiders coach
It is worth nothing that McClain, who was initially convicted of four misdemeanors in the alleged gun incident, had the charges dismissed during the appeal process. While there is a pattern of behavior here, I believe in second chances. Most importantly, so do the Ravens. And McClain claims he is a changed man now that he is married with children. Plus, he is just 23 years old, younger than 2012 Ravens rookies
Those off-the-field issues must be pointed out when talking about this potential signing, but the purpose of this post is not to dive into his past, but to evaluate the player the Ravens could be getting.
First things first, McClain is an Alabama guy, so general manager Ozzie Newsome has probably had his eye on McClain for a while now. The Ravens have a track record of acquiring defenders from Alabama, which employs a 3-4 defensive scheme. Newsome has recently spent second-round picks on nose tackle
Many of Alabama coach
Drafted eighth overall in 2010 and paid handsomely to play for one of the most dysfunctional organizations in the
McClain also recorded five sacks during the 2011 season.
He played a career-low 11 games in 2012, recording a career-low 62 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.
So why then would the Ravens want to roll with Rolando, outside of their obvious need at inside linebacker?
As we know, the team struggled against the run at times last season, and Newsome said back in February that the Ravens needed to improve the middle of their defense. You know about the mass exodus that ensued, and that the Ravens filled needs at safety with
Pro Football Focus gave McClain positive grades against the run in each of his three NFL seasons. And for comparison sake, his plus-9.8 rating in that area in 2012 was better than its grades for
While the fact that he had five sacks in 2011 is intriguing, he struggled in pass coverage with the Raiders, who tried to use him sparingly in that regard. So it may be unlikely the Ravens would want to use him in their sub packages for passing situations, but that's OK if they draft an inside linebacker with coverage capabilities.
The Ravens just need a two-down plugger to help them improve their run defense, and McClain fits the bill.
The deal is not done yet, though, and there is a chance it could fall through. But assuming the Ravens give him a short-term redemption deal -- and that McClain truly is a changed man -- it is a gamble worth taking.
If he can't play, they can cut him. But if he finally plays to his potential here, he may feel inclined to stick around.