Bradley Bozeman seems unlikely to return to the Ravens in 2022

Ravens, Bradley Bozeman (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Ravens, Bradley Bozeman (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens will have decisions to make on a number of pending free agents this offseason, but likely their most important internal free agent is center Bradley Bozeman.

Bozeman is set to hit the open market after a career year in 2021 that saw him finish as Pro Football Focus‘ 11th-best center in football. He was one of only five centers to receive a PFF pass-block and run-block grade north of 70.

In a difficult year for the Ravens’ offensive line, Bozeman was one of the few reliable cogs holding down the fort. But will the Ravens be able to afford the former Alabama product this offseason?

The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reported on Friday that Bozeman had likely “priced himself out of a return” indicating that it was unlikely the Ravens would be able to bring him back.

The Ravens probably won’t be able to afford Bradley Bozeman

The Ravens are projected to have just $14 million in cap space this offseason. They’ll undoubtedly increase that figure by releasing players like Alejandro Villanueva and restructuring contracts (Marcus Peters is a likely candidate), but they’re still tight on cash.

Bozeman’s standout 2021 season has allowed him to emerge as one of the top interior offensive linemen on the open market. Spotrac projects Bozeman’s market value at roughly four years, $40 million, or $10 million annually.

That figure might just be too high for the Ravens to realistically afford, especially with other needs and pending free agents to address.

Both Bozeman and the Ravens have expressed a desire to get a deal done. It’s clear that Bozeman wants to stay in Baltimore, and that motivation could help progress contract talks.

But the reality of the situation is simple here. If Bozeman wants to stay in Baltimore, he’s going to have to take well below market value. We’ve seen in the past with players like C.J. Mosley that a desire to stay isn’t always enough to make a deal work.

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Bradley Bozeman wants to play for the Ravens. The Ravens want to keep Bradley Bozeman. But as it stands now, the safe bet is to assume he plays elsewhere in 2022.