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Ravens Mail: What happens with Lardarius Webb?

It's that time to click open our weekly Baltimore Ravens Twitter mailbag ...

@jamisonhensley: What has to happen is a compromise. The Ravens can't afford to pay Lardarius Webb $8 million in salary in 2015 when he's become a middle-of-the-road cornerback, and Webb knows another team won't pay him anywhere near that type of money if the Ravens cut him. The problem is, the Ravens would only gain $2 million in cap room by releasing Webb and would carry $10 million in dead money. That's not a favorable situation. So, Webb could play hardball with the Ravens if he doesn't believe there is a threat of him getting cut. In the end, I believe the Ravens and Webb will reach that compromise. Webb will come down to a salary that will be better than anything he could get on the open market, and the Ravens will get some much-needed cap space. Just last year, Webb agreed to do a simple restructure to help free up cap room for the Ravens.

@jamisonhensley: The Ravens are still holding out hope that he does. The only reason why he's getting time to develop is he's a second-round pick that the Ravens moved up in that round to get (trading picks in the second, fifth and sixth rounds). Brown basically represents three picks. The hope is Arthur Brown would team up with C.J. Mosley and form the same athletic inside linebacker duo that the San Francisco 49ers have with Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman. But Brown was only active for four games before suffering a hamstring injury in the regular-season finale. He couldn't beat out undrafted linebackers Zachary Orr and Albert McClellan to get on the field for special teams. There have been draft picks such as Paul Kruger who suddenly make an impact after not playing much in the first two seasons. At this point, Brown has shown no signs of living up to expectations.

@jamisonhensley: The top two free-agent wide receivers -- Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas -- are expected to receive the franchise tag. You can cross them off your wish list. The next tier -- Michael Crabtree, Randall Cobb and Wes Welker -- aren't No. 1 receivers. The Ravens' best option might be to re-sign Torrey Smith and draft a wide receiver in the first two rounds. ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah both have Michigan wide receiver Devin Funchess going to the Ravens at No. 26 in their mock drafts.

@jamisonhensley: Not really. Byron Maxwell will be one of the top free-agent cornerbacks on the market. His value is driven even higher because he comes from a winning organization like the Seattle Seahawks. The Ravens have too many needs and not enough salary-cap room to throw all that money at one position. Remember, the Ravens like signing players who have been cut by other teams (they don't count against the team's compensatory picks). Cornerbacks who could be cap casualties include Houston's Jonathan Joseph, Cincinnati's Leon Hall and Philadelphia's Cary Williams, a former Raven.

@jamisonhensley: The Ravens aren't going to spend on a running back, which is why Justin Forsett might get more money elsewhere. If the Ravens look in free agency, there are three former first-round picks who could be had for a good value: Mark Ingram, Darren McFadden and Ryan Matthews. Another running back who could draw interest is Chris Johnson, who could be a cap cut by the New York Jets. The Ravens showed interest in Johnson last offseason. Even if the Ravens sign someone in free agency, it doesn't preclude them from drafting one. The Ravens like the potential of Lorenzo Taliaferro, but they will want to upgrade from Bernard Pierce. If the Ravens don't re-sign Forsett, it wouldn't be surprising to see two new running backs paired with Taliaferro.

@jamisonhensley: I see Rick Wagner as a dependable, above-average right tackle. He is going to be just a notch below that Pro Bowl level. It's going to be hard for Wagner to reach the Pro Bowl when Joe Thomas, Ryan Clady, Tyron Smith and Joe Staley are going to be automatic selections for the foreseeable future. Wagner graded out as the third-best right tackle in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. That's a great achievement for a fifth-round pick who was barely used a season ago. The Ravens would be pleased if Wagner is their starting right tackle for the next five to six years.

@jamisonhensley: Realistically, it would be Webb and Jimmy Smith at cornerback and Will Hill at free safety. It's the strong safety spot that is the difficult one to predict. During the last two offseasons, the Ravens have invested two high picks at safety (Matt Elam in the first round and Terrence Brooks in the third). It would be tough for the Ravens to use another early pick at that position. When picks don't pan out immediately, teams often have to get the quick fix in free agency. There are plenty of options this year with New England's Devin McCourty, Denver's Rahim Moore and Houston's Kendrick Lewis, but the Ravens were resistant to spend on a safety last offseason. That's how the Ravens ended up with Darian Stewart. Will the Ravens upgrade in free agency this year? That would be their best option. If not, you're going to see either Stewart, Brooks, Elam or Jeromy Miles at that other safety spot.