The Baltimore Ravens have some very underrated players headed towards free agency. When you look towards free agency you tend to look at the top. You see Yannick Ngakoue, Matt Judon, and Gus Edwards and that’s where the focus typically goes.
The Ravens have some lower-profile players to consider. The entire outside linebacker position is a big question mark heading into the offseason. Not only are Ngakoue and Judon free agents, but Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee are as well.
While Judon and Ngakoue are looking for big-time contracts, Bowser’s second contract is easier to work out. The former Houston Cougar is going into his fifth year in the NFL; it seems like he’s developing into a solid player.
Bowser only had two sacks in 2020, though he had three interceptions, 14 quarterback hits, and 34 total tackles. He’s more a linebacker than a pass rusher and he does a lot of things well. Bowser began to get more pressure on the quarterback this year; it would be a shame to let him go before those pressures turn into sacks.
McPhee is another prime example of an underrated free agent. He’s a player who gets high-quality work in with a limited snap count. He’s not going to break the bank at all. We’re talking about a 33-year-old edge player. McPhee displayed his value in his efforts to stop Derrick Henry in the wild card win against the Tennesee Titans.
Keeping with the defense, Jihad Ward is another player that you’re not talking about, one that should be re-signed at the right price. Ward had a rotational role, only playing in 10 regular-season games. He had 16 total tackles, three sacks and, eight quarterback hits. That’s good under the radar production. That’s making the most of his playing time.
Defensive football isn’t just about the stars. Bowser is to the front seven what Jimmy Smith is to the secondary. He’s not the headliner, yet he does important work that can go unnoticed. If it weren’t for the three interceptions, you probably wouldn’t have given much attention to Bowser this season.
Bowser will cost the most out of this bunch. This will be his second NFL contract. He’s a player who is starting to produce and could be seen as an up and coming player by the other NFL decision-makers in the NFL.
The Bottom Line:
A team that can’t afford a top free agent at outside linebacker may look at Bowser as a good get. He provides value even if the signing isn’t going to get their fans jumping up and down.
McPhee and Ward though, these should be easy deals to get done. Even with the cap being a bit tighter this year, these are the kind of players that quality teams find room for. They’re affordable and they serve a purpose.
It will be very interesting to see how the Ravens handle this offseason. They may lose some big-name players on defense. Keeping at least two of these lower-profile players could make a real difference next season.