2 star RB targets for Ravens become available after franchise tag news

The Ravens need to eye up these premium running backs.

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens
Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens / Todd Olszewski/GettyImages

All signs point to the Baltimore Ravens spending a good chunk of their offseason resources on improving the running back position, as they seem to have come to the conclusion that Gus Edwards is not enough to win games in January consistently.

While Tennessee Titans star Derrick Henry is obviously the top priority, the Ravens just received some very good news as it pertains to some of their backup plans in Las Vegas Raiders star Josh Jacobs and New York Giants Pro Bowler Saquon Barkley.

According to Adam Schefter, the Raiders are not going to hit Jacobs with the franchise tag due to the fact it will cost slightly more than $14 million. However, they will make an effort to sign him on the open market despite the fact there will be increased competition for his services.

Schefter also confirmed the Giants, who chose to pay Daniel Jones an eye-bleedingly bad contract instead of rewarding Barkley in the past, are not going to hit their star running back with the tag, effectively telling them they intend to let them seek a better deal in free agency

While Jacobs isn't in the same tier as Henry or Barkley, and Edwards' short-yardage skills are so impressive that the former Alabama star might not be a gigantic upgrade, his past history as a league-leading rusher shows what could happen when the offense is built around him.

The Baltimore Ravens could try to sign Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs

Jacobs led the NFL with 1,653 yards rushing in 2022, but he regressed to just 3.5 yards per carry in 2023. While Jacobs had just 3.07 YPC and three touchdowns in eight games with Josh McDaniels as head coach, he averaged more than 80 yards from scrimmage per game after Antonio Pierce was installed as head coach.

Barkley's inability to top 1,000 yards rushing this year was the product of facing stacked boxes quite regularly thanks to some of the worst quarterback play in the league and terrible offensive lines. The same Ravens offense that turned Edwards into a borderline Pro Bowl talent might give Barkley a similar production bump.

Henry should still be the top priority for the Ravens, but they need to keep their feelers extended as it pertains to Jacobs and Barkley. If negotiations with their prior teams end up going south, Baltimore needs to swoop in and tempt them with the idea of competing for a championship.