3 Free Agents the Baltimore Ravens Should Sign This Week

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 18: Delanie Walker #82 and Jack Conklin #78 of the Tennessee Titans celebrate Walker's 2nd half touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 18, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 18: Delanie Walker #82 and Jack Conklin #78 of the Tennessee Titans celebrate Walker's 2nd half touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on September 18, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /

There are free agents the Baltimore Ravens must go get:

Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said after acquiring Yannick Ngakoue that he was “not finished building this team.” The Ravens have since signed Dez Bryant and Tramon Williams, but have seen new holes emerge across the roster due to injuries and poor performance.

In some ways, the roster almost feels less complete than it did even before the Ngakoue trade, with Ronnie Stanley and Nick Boyle both out for the season, Brandon Williams‘ status in question, and Jimmy Smith and LJ Fort both missing time in recent weeks.

The roster as it stands does little to inspire confidence that a deep run in January is possible. But lucky for Baltimore, there is still time to patch some holes and an unusually deep list of talented players who were unable to latch on with clubs before the start of the 2020 season.

Adding even one of the players listed below would go a long way toward alleviating some of the concerns about this team, but here are three free agents the Ravens should sign this week.

Justin Britt –  Center

Before suffering an ACL injury in Week 8 of last year, Justin Britt had started all but two games for the Seattle Seahawks dating back to his rookie season in 2014. After playing right tackle and left guard during his first two years, he settled in as the starting center over his final four seasons.

While his more recent production was not nearly up to par compared to his outstanding 2016 year (77.0 grade from Pro Football Focus), both studying tape and metrics show he would be an upgrade for Baltimore if he can prove he’s healthy.

The Ravens’ needs along the offensive line are quite obvious and will have to be addressed at some point if this team still hopes to make noise in January. While the case could be made for adding a body at just about any spot on the line, the center position has stood out as the most glaring need in recent weeks.

Matt Skura announced on his Instagram page on Monday that some fans sent hateful and threatening messages to members of his family after Sunday’s loss to the Patriots. That kind of behavior is entirely unacceptable, no matter what happens on the field.

Having said that, Skura has been a liability in the last two weeks, both as a snapper and a blocker. PFF has given his work a 50.6 grade, down from 68.7 in 2019. We know a cut on his hand has been at least partially to blame for the snapping woes, and Skura came back rather quickly from the torn ACL, MCL, and PCL in the playoff loss to the Titans last year. Whether he came back too soon or was simply a flash in a pan in 2019, Skura looks like he would be best utilized as a depth option at this point.

Bradley Bozeman won a national championship as the starting center for the University of Alabama during his collegiate years and could kick over from left guard if Baltimore opts to make a change.

But given all the shuffling the offensive line has already seen this season, it would probably be in their best interest to keep Bozeman at his left guard spot, where he has produced a respectable 65.0 grade from PFF. A Britt signing allows Bozeman to stay home at guard while still moving Skura into a reserve role, and would hopefully go a long way in getting this Ravens offense off the ground once and for all.

Delanie Walker – Tight End

With Nick Boyle out for the season, Mark Andrews is now the lone active tight end on a roster that heavily depends on its tight end group in the passing game and heavy run sets. Luke Willson is now in the fold to compete with practice squad players, Sean Culkin and Xavier Grimble for the role of Boyle’s replacement, and at least one of the latter two should be on the active roster for Sunday’s matchup with the Titans, but even if one of that group emerges to be a quality second option, the offense has looked lackluster without the three-tight end sets that were so effective a season ago. Walker is unquestionably an upgrade over Culkin or Grimble, and probably an upgrade over Willson as well.

Injuries limited Walker to a combined eight games in his final two seasons with Tennessee, but he was still good for over 10 yards per catch and hauled in more than three catches per game in that stretch. Walker was a reliable safety blanket for former Titans starter Marcus Mariota. He’s not the 1000-yard Pro Bowler he once was, but could still provide solid production as a secondary option, and reportedly generated interest from several teams before the start of the season.

Having not played this season, Walker could work his way back into football shape on the practice squad first, and seek to debut in Week 12 or 13 to be ready for the playoffs.

Javien Elliott – Cornerback

Even before going down with an injury against the Patriots, Terrell Bonds was a major liability in coverage this year. He lacks ideal size and simply doesn’t make up for it with any playmaking ability. Once Jimmy Smith is healthy and Tramon Williams is up to speed, Bonds would return as the fifth corner, which is far more palatable, but Baltimore should know better than to trust that it will make it through the year without more injuries in the secondary at this point. It seems they do, as the team reportedly put in a claim for Giants corner Corey Ballentine before he ended up with the Jets.

Ballentine is obviously no longer an option, but former Panthers corner Javien Elliott is sitting on the free-agent market and put up quality production as recently as last season. It’s easy to think a Brandon Carr reunion would be the obvious choice for corner depth, but he looked out of place on the field in his time with Dallas earlier this season.

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At 27, Elliott still has his football legs, and while he is primarily a slot corner, the Ravens prefer to use Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters on the outside anyway. Elliott received a 67.1 grade from PFF for his 2019 performance, and could even be an option to bring back in 2021 as corner depth if he pans out.