Ravens likely won’t take the plunge on any free agent center

Ravens, Bradley Bozeman (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Ravens, Bradley Bozeman (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

After signing safety Marcus Williams, the Baltimore Ravens have fewer resources to splurge on a center in free agency and will probably take the draft route.

This year’s free agency was marked by plenty of rumblings in the AFC North, as seemingly every team other than the Ravens made huge Day 1 moves in the legal tampering period.

On Tuesday, former Saints safety Marcus Williams reportedly agreed to terms with Baltimore and became the Ravens’ first free-agent signing this offseason. He may be the last — or at least the last major signing.

The Ravens’ top needs heading into the 2022 season included their offensive and defensive lines, and the team had previously been rumored to bring back Bradley Bozeman or find an upgrade at the center position.

At the time of this writing, Bozeman serves as one of the best free-agent center options available; the Cleveland Browns recently released J.C. Tretter, who may be another highly sought-out target as well.

Other top centers have since been re-signed by their current teams: Ryan Jensen with Tampa Bay, Brian Allen with the Los Angeles Rams, and Ben Jones with Tennessee.

What does this mean for the Ravens? They could still go after Bozeman, Tretter, or cheaper guys like Matt Paradis and Billy Price, but initial signs suggest they will fill the position in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Don’t expect the Ravens to sign a center this free agency

Much ink has spilled over whether the Ravens should keep Bozeman, and a few weeks ago, Ebony Bird’s Justin Fried put it this way:

"“Yes, the Ravens should try to re-sign Bradley Bozeman. The real question comes down to the price point.”"

Bozeman arguably played a career-best season in 2021 when the Ravens slid him into his natural position at center. He put together an impressive performance to improve the team’s rushing offense and earned a top-five pass-block grade out of all qualified centers.

At under 30-years-old, he’d be a fantastic fit for any center-needy team, and in truth, the Ravens would be sad to see him go.

Given what other centers of his age and caliber are making, Bozeman may be looking for a deal somewhere in the $10 to $12 million per year range.

The Ravens don’t seem willing to cough up that much at the center position and may already have their eyes on a prospect in the draft like Iowa’s Tyler Linderbaum. But not everyone is on board with picking Linderbaum at No. 14:

Next. 9 best Ravens free agency targets remaining after Day 1. dark

If, by some miracle sent down by the football gods, Bozeman doesn’t receive any competitive offers from other teams, the Ravens will have more bargaining power to bring him back.

As it stands, though, Baltimore may be satisfied with signing Marcus Williams this free agency and start the process of vetting prospects in the draft.