The Baltimore Ravens need to get better at pass rush and J.J. Watt has been a very intriguing free agent option. Watt is a free agent after he was released by the Houston Texans. Unlike players set to become free agents in March, Watt can sign whenever, wherever.
Here at Ebony Bird, we’ve been split. I argued that Watt wasn’t a viable option for the Ravens this offseason unless he got cut. Then I argued that signing Watt over an edge rusher or a wide receiver would be a twist of priorities,
Richard Bradshaw wrote that Watt would be the right fit with the Ravens. So when it comes to Watt Ebony Bird has been a house divided.
According to a tweet by ESPN’s Dianna Russini, the market for J.J. Watt is heating up. She reports in the tweet that Watt has had been offered as high as $15-16 million per year.
If Russini is correct with this information, this changes the entire framework of the Watt to Baltimore discussion. The idea of Watt choosing the Baltimore Ravens to compete against his brothers and a chance at winning a Super Bowl was a believable one.
If these were the motivations, and he took a team-friendly deal to make it happen, then it could happen. This is not the scenario we are in. The information being reported by Russini indicates that this is a highly competitive sweepstake.
According to Spotrac.com, the Ravens are estimated to have about $22 million in cap space. Let’s talk numbers as a frame of reference for you. Spotrac has Yannick Ngakoue‘s estimated market value at $15.6 million. Spotrac has Matt Judon in the same price point and neither of these players is going to set the market.
What do the Ravens need more? Help at outside linebacker or defensive end? As of now, Calais Campbell is returning. I keep saying it and I will say it again, Derek Wolfe is an affordable free agent to bring back. At this point in their respective career’s Wolfe may give you more or at least the same output as Watt.
The Bottom Line:
Signing Watt would always have been a luxury, not necessarily a necessity. The Ravens must attack what they need the most. They can’t just sign Watt because they want him. If they were going to do business like that they’d be in severe cap problem land.
If signing Watt would move the needle and get the Ravens into the Super Bowl, it would be a different story. If the Ravens had one or two needs and plenty of cap space it would be a different story. Right now though, the story is that the Ravens have enough for one big move in free agency and maybe an under-the-radar pickup to go with it.
If a team wants to overspend on Watt, the Ravens should stay out of the way. If he lands on a division rival’s roster then so be it. That’s not a reason to make a move when you can’t justify the price.