Free Agency is looming over the NFL right now. For many fans this is an exciting time of year chocked full of bubbly optimism. For Ravens fans…not so much. Generally the best possible outcome Ravens fans can hope for is to resign the players that are key components to the team and maybe snag a value free agent or two. Maybe its just as well that the Ravens don’t dive into high end free agency much because it is probably the weakest(they are still better than most teams though) area of skill for the front office(the last major name they snagged in FA was Dominique Foxworth).
Right now I think the thing Ravens fans are hoping against hope for is that Ozzie and crew find some way to re-sign Ben Grubbs.
Dream offseason scenario part #1: The Ravens sign Ben Grubbs or Chris Myers- Grubbs has about a 15-20% chance of staying with the Ravens. In short, its going to take a minor miracle to keep him. John Harbaugh said a couple weeks ago that the Ravens were offers Grubbs “a lot of money”. So the only way they keep him? Grubbs hits free agency and finds a smaller market than he expected. This sounds far fetched at first glance but if you look at the teams that need him most, they all seem to be preoccupied with something else. Chicago is making a run at Mario Williams and VJAX, The Titans are going after Hutchinson and Manning, The cards and Dolphins are going after Manning. That only leaves about 4 teams that are interested in paying him high dollar and aren’t occupied with bigger names. The Ravens have an offer on the table, if the other teams in contact with Grubbs aren’t contending teams and the money isn’t vastly different, I could see him coming back. It’s a long shot, but hey it wouldn’t be a dream scenario if it wasn’t, right? The secondary option here would be to grab Chris Myers in Free agency. Myers is arguably the top C in the league and would probably cost give or take the same amount as Grubbs but there should be less competition for his services.
Now, any Ravens fans dreaming of VJAX or Mike Wallace I have one suggestion. Forget about it. Just like Nnamdi last year, many Ravens fans are getting a bit ahead of themselves with this one. There is just absolutely no way this will happen. The Ravens don’t have the cap, free agent WRs almost never are as good as they were with their old teams and the price will be way way way to high. The same goes for Reggie Wayne, Wayne seems to want to go home to florida, he is 30 and his production was the worst of his career last season. That isn’t a recipe for long term success. Which brings us to…
Dream offseason scenario part #2: Ravens sign a solid, young #3 WR: Eddie Royal is my personal favorite here because he has a lot of untapped potential and is a good Kick and Punt returner. Other options are Robert Meachem and Pierre Garcon. No matter who it is or where they get him(FA or the Draft), it is clear that the Ravens need a young WR to grow with Joe Flacco and take over the #3WR role. In my dream scenario the Ravens will get a good one with a solid history of production.
Those 2 moves are really the only major free agency moves I see the Ravens making. They might sign a RB or a LB but they will be bench players and situational guys so none of that is super important or worth dreaming about. So now im looking internally.
Dream offseason scenario part #3: Flacco gets extended and Rice gets re-signed: Im still hoping one of these will happen in the next 2 weeks or so. Rice needs a new deal and depending on how the deal is structured it could save the Ravens as much as 4 million or so off the cap. Flacco’s deal shouldn’t effect this years cap, it is a long term move and wouldn’t really take effect until next season except for maybe a signing bonus. Rice needs a deal so he can have long term stability and be locked in as a Ravens for a few more years. Flacco needs to be shown a little confidence in the form of a contract.
Now that the Ravens have Flacco, Rice, a #3 WR and an interior lineman locked down for the next 3-5 years, the Ravens are basically done in free agency. Now that the frenzy is over the Ravens turn their heads to the draft.
Dream offseason part #4: The Draft: the first part of this is the compensatory picks. In my dream scenario the Ravens are rewarded 4th, 6th and 7th round picks in return for losing Leron McClain, Dawan Landry and Chris Chester.
Round 1: Courntey Upshaw, LB, Alabama: two months ago Upshaw was considered a top 10 pick. The emergence of Melvin Ingram and the rise of Dontari Poe as well as Upshaws disappointing combine have driven Upshaws draft stock south. Upshaw isn’t likely to be available at 29, but if the draft falls just right, its possible he is there and he would be a slam dunk pick and finally give the Ravens a pass rusher opposite Suggs. Upshaw also has a ton of experience dropping into coverage and would likely be a day one starter at OLB replacing Jarrett Johnson.
Round 2: Zebrie Sanders, OT, Florida State: If Grubbs is resigned then the Ravens will need a C, I think round 3 or 4 is the place to find one, if it is Chris Myers then the Ravens will need a G, I think Jah Reid can fill that hole or maybe the Ravens would go after a guy like Kevin Zeitler. Sanders is a guy I like a lot, he played well at Florida St in a fairly similar zone oriented scheme and would be an excellent value in the second round.
Round 3: Brian Quick, WR, Appalachian St.: I know I know, the Ravens already signed a number 3 WR in this scenario. I don’t care. Quick is to good to pass up this late in the draft. Quick is the type of big bodied jump ball specialist that the Ravens could really use in the redzone. He isn’t likely to make much of an impact his rookie year because he is pretty raw but in a year or two he could be a great player and Anquan Boldin isn’t going to be around for forever.
Round 4: Vontaze Burfict, ILB, Arizona State: the Ravens get a compensatory pick late in the round but they use their 6th round compensatory pick to trade up into the top 15 of the round to grab Burfict. Burfict is troubled. Very very troubled. That said he does have a lot of potential. A 4th rounder isn’t much to lose to get burfict and he wont have a high dollar amount on his salary. If he turns out to be a screw up, oh well, if he turns out to be good, the Ravens get a steal.
Round 5: Nate Potter, OT/G, Boise St.: in my dream scenario the Ravens will double dip at OT and snag Potter for a great value in the 5th round. Potter is a potential starting caliber LT in the NFL and could also play LG if needed.
Round 6: Cliff Harris, PR/CB/KR, Oregon: another knucklehead player. He was kicked out of Oregon for his off field antics but he has a massive amount of potential. He would be a late 1st/early 2nd round pick if he were clean off the field. The Ravens will gamble on him hoping his draft day slide is enough to humble him.
Round 7, Pick 1: Chris Rainey, WR/RB/KR/PR, Florida: another return man for the Ravens. Partly because he is a great value but mostly because I think special teams might be the biggest weakness on the team and I really think it held the Ravens back last year(if David Reed doesn’t fumble 3 times inside the 20 the Ravens don’t lose at seattle and end up with the top seed in the AFC and host the patriots in the championship game). Rainey and Harris can compete for return jobs and they can also be situational players.
Round 7, comp pick: Adrian Cole, ILB, Louisiana Tech: Cole is another player who would be a much much higher pick if he had gone to a better school. As it is he is a guy with great size and speed and a ton of potential that falls deep into the draft. The Ravens get another steal here.
UDFAs: William Vlachos, G/C, Alabama, Chris Gallipo, ILB, USC, Danny Coale, WR, VT, David Megget, RB, Maryland,
For Those keeping track the Ravens running total stands as this
Lost: Jarrett Johnson, Jameel McClain, Dominique Foxworth, Chris Carr, Lee Evans, Haruki Nakamura, Tom Zibbikowski, Ben Grubbs(if Myers is signed), Cory Redding
Gained: Chris Myers(if Grubbs leaves), a #3 Wr, Courtney Upshaw, Zebrie Sanders, Brian Quick, Vontaze Burfict, Nate Potter, Chris Rainey, Adrian Cole, William Vlachos, Chris Gallipo, Danny Coale, and David Megget.
Not a bad haul if you ask me.
Will all these things happen? Almost definitely not. But a guy can dream right?
What is your dream offseason? Let me know!
Tags: Adrian Cole Baltimore Ravens Ben Grubbs Brian Quick Chris Gallipo Chris Myers Chris Rainey Cliff Harris Courtney Upshaw Danny Coale David Megget Dominique Foxworth Eddie Royal Free Agency Joe Flacco Mike Wallace Nate Potter NFL Ozzie Newsome Ravens Ray Rice Reggie Wayne Robert Meachem Vincent Jackson Vontaze Burfict William Vlachos Zebrie Sanders