The offseason outlook for Ravens’ cornerback trio

The Ravens have three cornerbacks from their 2010 roster who are set to become free agents this offseason.

Chris Carr, Josh Wilson and Fabian Washington will all hit the free agent market once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached (it’ll happen eventually), and they’ve all expressed a different level of interest in returning to the Ravens next season.

Last month, as the players were cleaning out their lockers a couple days after their season-ending loss to the Steelers, the three corners were all asked whether they see themselves playing in purple and black next season. Here are their responses, which range from one extreme (heck yes, I want to be back) to another (get me out of here).

Chris Carr: “Myself, I definitely want to come back. And you guys know me, I’m not going to say it if I don’t mean it. There’s no other place I’d want to play. I’ve played on three separate teams, and even this year compared to last season with the Ravens, the team chemistry that we have and the players and the unity, you just can’t get that too many places. Anything but a Super Bowl for this team is a disappointment. Like, the Chiefs can go home and feel good about themselves. ‘OK, we overachieved a little bit. We’re kinda talented, but not really. We lost to the Ravens, but they were better than us.’ They can feel good about that. Us ... we shouldn’t be like, ‘Oh, it was a good year.’

“I just don’t want to see myself going to a place like Oakland where you see yourself going 8-8 and it’s like the best thing ever. I don’t want to experience that anymore. Later stage of your career, you want to be somewhere where you’re happy, first and foremost.”

Josh Wilson: “Now’s the time you go through it and see what’s going to happen. Ideally, it would be great to be back ... I’m the type of guy, why not (return)? If you’ve got a good situation, why would I want to leave? Like I told you all when I got here, I didn’t want to leave Seattle. I would love to have still been there. I would love to still play there.”

Fabian Washington: “What am I going to do here? I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s important for me to play. I don’t have to be a starter, but I have to play. If I don’t play, I’ll sit at home. I’m financially stable. I have to play, that’s one thing about me. I’m not somebody who can sit around and collect a paycheck and be happy. That’s not me.”

I think you can get a good idea of where things stand with the trio of corners after reading those quotes.

Carr - who perhaps unintentionally threw a couple nasty jabs at two AFC West teams with his above comments - wants to come back, and you have to think that GM Ozzie Newsome will be happy to oblige the six-year veteran. Carr stepped up in a big way during the 2010 season following the training camp injury to Domonique Foxworth, and was the Ravens’ most consistent cornerback. It’d be hard to imagine the Ravens not finding room for him in 2011.

Things are different for Washington, who began the season starting opposite Carr, but was benched midway through the ‘10 campaign. The former first-round pick handled the loss of playing time like a pro, saying that he understood the coaches’ decision to go with Wilson, who finished the season playing solid ball, but Washington’s days in Baltimore are clearly numbered. A change of scenery will be good for him next season.

Then there’s Wilson. The shortest-tenured Ravens cornerback got off to a slow start after a preseason trade brought him from Seattle to Baltimore, but by Week 10, he had taken over for Washington in the starting lineup. In his postseason comments, he seemed somewhat interested in returning to the Ravens and continuing to play for his hometown team, but in the next sentence stated how much he enjoyed his time with the Seahawks.

Assuming Carr does return and Foxworth fully recovers from his torn ACL, Wilson might not be in line for much playing time next season. And I say that before the Ravens have had a chance to survey the cornerback class in this year’s draft or look at bringing in any potential free agents.

My guess is Wilson ends up playing elsewhere next season, although he could be open to returning to Charm City if the money and chance to play are right.

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