Baltimore Ravens options for the rest of NFL free agency
By Billy Kosko
We are a month away from the 2021 NFL Draft! Should the Ravens sign any other free agents? Or should they just wait until after the draft?
I absolutely believe the Ravens should target another free agent or two. But it all really depends on money. According to Over the Cap, the Ravens are estimated to have around $17 million in cap space left. However, that doesn’t seem to include the recent Sammy Watkins signing.
There are ways for teams to manipulate the cap or create cap space as needed. So, if the Ravens want a player and they are the right price, I imagine they will do what they can to make it happen.
Ultimately, I believe that if the Ravens sign any more free agents, it will be either a pass-rusher or an offensive lineman.
Top Free Agent Pass-Rushers Remaining:
If the Ravens are going to sign a pass-rusher, I feel like it will most likely be one of the following four players:
My personal top two choices would be either Ingram or Houston. It really all depends on their cost. Spotrac.com did have Ingram with a calculated market value of $11 million, but the market hasn’t exactly been friendly to any of Spotrac’s predictions this offseason.
I would estimate that Ingram will get at most seven or eight million. Can the Ravens afford that? They probably can, but I believe they will wait to see how cheap they can sign a veteran pass-rusher before jumping on anyone.
Melvin Ingram has averaged around nine sacks-per-season throughout his career, but he did miss most of 2020 due to a knee injury. I also think that will impact the amount of money he gets in free agency.
As far as the other options go, it will also come down to price. Vernon is coming off of a nine-sack season in 2020. He has recorded 63.5 sacks in nine seasons. With Houston, he is definitely nearing the end of his career. It also appears that Colts want to re-sign him. Though, he would be a good signing for the Ravens. He has averaged around 10 sacks-per-season in his career, including eight last season (which was two more than Matt Judon).
I don’t really see Clowney happening at this point because he is in talks with the Cleveland Browns. Both sides are showing interest there. However, I do believe it would be a good fit.
If the Ravens choose not to target a veteran pass-rush, they will probably focus on the pass rush a lot in the 2021 NFL Draft. Though, I feel they would attempt to bring in another veteran offensive lineman.
A few options that are intriguing to me are:
The Ravens had issues snapping the ball last season (most notably in the Buffalo Bills playoff game). That is something they desperately need to fix. I have mentioned in a previous Ebony Bird article that they could choose to fix it in-house by pushing Bradley Bozeman from left guard to center. Bradley Bozeman’s original position in college was center.
If the Ravens go that route, they would probably want to bring in a veteran guard to replace Bozeman at left guard. I think other Ravens’ guards Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips have potential, but I don’t know that they will rely on just them to start. That is where Trai Turner comes in.
Trai Turner had an off-year with the Los Angeles Chargers. In fact, he and Rick Wagner were both cap casualties, which the Ravens love because they don’t affect the compensatory pick formula. Prior to last season, Turner had 5 Pro Bowls in a row with the Carolina Panthers. He may be worth pursuing at the right price.
Though, the Ravens may choose to leave Bradley Bozeman at left guard. They could potentially look to the draft for a center. Or they could sign former Kansas City Chief Austin Reiter if he isn’t too expensive.
As far as Rick Wagner goes, this is mainly an option if the Ravens choose to trade Orlando Brown Jr. because Wagner is a former Raven and can be a solid fill-in at right tackle (until the Ravens develop someone else). Should the Ravens sign any more offensive linesmen, any one of these 3 players is worth considering.
Is there any other position that the Ravens may target?
I do think the Ravens need depth at cornerback. I also think the Ravens need a third safety who is better in coverage. The Ravens usually draft a cornerback, so I imagine they will again this year.
But as far as safety goes, Malik Hooker is a great option. After dealing with injuries, he could potentially come at a bargain. There is risk involved, but he has play-making potential. Considering the Ravens were tied for the fourth-fewest number of interceptions last year at 10, he may be worth taking a risk on. If the Ravens sign Malik Hooker, that total interception number should go up.