Step one of the Ravens' wide receiver rebuilding plan is complete: Get someone under contract.
Prior to yesterday's signing of Donte' Stallworth, Marcus Smith had the most NFL game action of any receiver guaranteed to be in camp in 2010, so the first piece of the puzzle is now set.
How big a piece Stallworth will turn out to be is anyone's guess.
You can choose to look at the signing one of two ways - that the Ravens are signing an underachieving, baggage-laden receiver who can't stay healthy, or that this is a low-risk signing which, if complimented by other wide receiver acquisitions, could work out quite nicely.
Put me down for the latter.
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and head coach John Harbaugh said recently that when they consider signing or trading for a player who has experienced off-field issues, they weigh the risks against the potential rewards.
Someone tell me what the risks are in this situation. Never mind; I'll list them for you. You just go to town on that cup of coffee.
That Stallworth will show his age, won't stay healthy or will fail to put up numbers in Cam Cameron's offense?
Fine, so the Ravens will be out $900,000. That's less than Oniel Cousins and David Hale will get between them for 2010, just as a reference point.
That they'll now have to deal with a guy who could cause more off-field problems and whose previous actions will disrupt the chemistry of the locker room?
Doubtful. The drunken driving incident last March was a huge mistake, no doubt about it. But Stallworth isn't a repeat offender when it comes to character issues like some other wide receivers the Ravens have been linked to.
Everyone who is familiar with Stallworth seems to have nothing but positive things to say about him, and he has to know that if he isn't on his best behavior in Baltimore, he'll be out the door.
Put yourself in Stallworth's shoes for a second.
You're a former first-round pick who hasn't lived up to expectations. You've gone through a brutally tragic, embarrassing personal experience which got you suspended and cut, and put a black mark next to your name.
You're desperate to prove that you're worth the second chance you've been given, both as a football player and as a member of a community.
You don't think this guy will come out with a chip on his shoulder and a sense of desperation this season? I sure as heck do.
Now, if the Ravens are expecting Stallworth to come in and become Joe Flacco's go-to threat in the passing game, they're way off base. Is he the answer to all of their wide receiver hopes and dreams? No siree, Bob.
Stallworth's signing doesn't solve the Ravens' issue of needing a big-bodied receiver that can win a jump-ball and work on the outside, and it doesn't give them a young guy that can grow alongside Flacco for the next however-many years.
But it's a nice, low-risk start, and if there are more wide receivers on their way to Baltimore (which I expect to be the case) then I think signing Stallworth was a smart way for GM Ozzie Newsome to kick off the offseason.