Picking up the pieces after the abrupt end to Baltimore Ravens 2019
Big changes to come:
For starters, I’m locking up left tackle Ronnie Stanley with a long-term deal. Stanley was a high draft pick, has improved every year he’s been on the team and is arguably the finest tackle in the NFL. Do not let him walk away.
I love Matt Judon. I think he’s underrated as a player because he might not get 14 sacks a year, but he is disruptive, has shown leadership and was the Ravens only consistent pass-rush threat this season. But I just can’t justify a league-wrecking contract for him. If I’m the Ravens I’m offering him a five year-$70 million contract and letting the chips fall where they may. That would be the highest I’d possibly go.
If they keep Judon or not, the Ravens need reinforcements. With a new regime in place in Washington, and with Ohio State star edge-rusher Chase Young slotted to them in nearly every mock draft I have encountered to this point, there’s a real chance that veteran Ryan Kerrigan could be made available for a draft pick. I’d make this trade the second it was possible to do so.
On the free-agent front, the Ravens have been linked with Jacksonville free agent (And University of Maryland alum) Yannick Ngakoue, and if he’s willing to come for the right price, hey, get him, too. Let’s get as many as we can on this roster, with these corners behind them, and see what can happen. I’d also take a long look at Kansas City’s Chris Jones, a specialist at rushing from the interior, and the Ravens are probably going to be losing Michael Pierce. Why not replace him with a sleeker version who can disrupt quarterbacks?
As for the draft, I always chuckle when people say the team needs to target a certain position with their first pick. The Ravens are going to be picking 28th this year, barring a trade, and what the Ravens will be doing is sifting through what’s left and picking from there. But there are a few position groups I would look at if I’m Baltimore. I’d start with the front seven, interior line, receiver, and corner. Ideally, I’d get an off-ball linebacker, sturdy defensive lineman or edge rusher at the top of the draft, and take advantage of the draft’s depth at receiver after that. But, like I said, if you aren’t comfortable making trades to move down and grab someone, you get what you get.
And the Ravens are really good at that game.
This was a tough way to end an incredibly fun season, but it’s also an exciting offseason to look forward to the future. Let’s all dry our eyes, put on our big-boy (or big-girl) pants and move on. This isn’t Washington. We don’t live in the past with our football team.
We build toward the future.