The Baltimore Ravens Must Solve A Problem In Free Agency
The Baltimore Ravens have far too many needs to sit out of the Free Agency frenzy.
When the Baltimore Ravens were consistently schooling the rest of the league in the NFL Draft, it was wise for them to sit patiently during the beginning of Free Agency. They had a strong 2016 draft, but 2015 and 2013 weren’t as kind to Ozzie Newsome. Building through the draft is the most affordable and sensible option, but it missteps make teams depend on free agent acquisitions. The Ravens can’t wait to fix their problems, they most get to work early in Free Agency.
The first step for the Ravens is clearing cap space. That won’t be a problem. The Ravens roster has to see some turnover this season, no matter how you slice it. It is more than likely, that the Ravens have a plan to free up cap space. Newsome and Eric DeCosta did it last year, under harder circumstances. This year the Ravens will make a signing or two. They have no choice.
The Ravens biggest problem is at the wide receiver position. Neither Breshad Perriman or Mike Wallace is a true number one receiver. The rest of the Ravens receivers are rather average complimentary pieces. Joe Flacco is not Tom Brady. You can’t surround him with okay players and hope that Flacco will make them great. The Ravens need a star wide receiver and a possession receiver that Flacco can trust.
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Wide Receiver Options:
- Brandon Marshall (If he parts ways with the Jets as expected)
- Pierre Garcon
- Terrelle Pryor
The Ravens need play-makers. It is an unavoidable truth. If the Ravens take care of their lack of receivers in free agency, they can draft other positions. There is no way the Ravens’ brass can justify starting the 2017 season without an upgrade for Joe Flacco’s set of weapons. Being proactive is more likely than drafting Corey Davis, as much as I want to see him wearing purple on Sundays.
The Ravens also need help in the secondary. I think the Ravens need at corner is exaggerated by the fans. Jimmy Smith and Tavon Young are a good one-two punch at the position. The Ravens need a third guy. The Ravens need a guy who can cover the slot receiver and also fill in for Smith if he gets hurt. The idea that the Ravens are desperate for a star corner is flawed, they have two solid cornerbacks.
Options At Cornerback:
- Trumaine Johnson
- Dre Kirkpatrick
- Prince Amukamara
The Ravens biggest secondary based need is at the free safety position. Lardarius Webb is not a long-term solution at the position and is also a possible cap casualty. The free safety position will be the hardest position to fill on the open market. Eric Berry is out of the realistic reach of the Ravens, and plan B isn’t great. This is why the Ravens need to do something in Free Agency. Signing a couple of offensive play-makers would allow the Ravens to target Malik Hooker in the NFL Draft. Hooker is an Ed Reed like safety with incredible talent. Even if the Ravens cannot land Hooker, the draft is the best way to solve their need at free safety.
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Don’t forget the Ravens also have need for pass rushers and Zach Orr must be replaced at inside linebacker. The offensive line is also a place that could use an upgrade. The point is that the Ravens have five legitimate needs. The Ravens are not going to solve every problem they have in the NFL Draft. Newsome and DeCosta must solve at least one problem in the NFL Draft. The most sensible places to start would be at wide receiver and cornerback. I wouldn’t mind them making a splash though, and signing Melvin Ingram to rush the passer.