3 AFC North rivals the Ravens should try to sign in free agency

Baltimore might steal from their rivals

Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns
Baltimore Ravens v Cleveland Browns / Nick Cammett/GettyImages
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The Baltimore Ravens could be ravaged by free agency if they don't play their cards right in the early stages. As good as Eric DeCosta can be at his best, he needs to pull off the best stretch of GM-ing in his career to keep Baltimore hanging with the Kansas City Chiefs at the top of the AFC.

The Ravens' top priority needs to be their own players, as big names like Justin Madubuike headline what has quickly become a very expansive class for Baltimore. Once they get their ducks in a row in that area, Baltimore must start perusing the rest of the league to find solid role-playing pieces.

The Ravens aren't the only team in the AFC North that is struggling to figure out how to keep their best players. The Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals, in particular, could risk seeing their suffocating defense and high-flying offense (respectively) robbed of their skill by the open market.

Any one of these three players could make for a solid signing if Baltimore is unable to keep some of their best players. With the Pittsburgh Steelers only at risk of losing a handful of depth pieces, the Ravens would need to focus their efforts on their two opponents in Northeast Ohio.

3 AFC North rivals the Baltimore Ravens could sign in free agency

3. Chidobe Awuzie, CB, Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals might be willing to cut off some dead weight this offseason, as they need every dollar at their disposal to give Tee Higgins the high-end contract he is seeking. Awuzie, who has been replaced by draft picks like Cam Taylor-Britt and Daxton Hill, seems like a logical veteran to let go.

Awuzie has missed 14 games in the last three seasons, which will give some teams pause for thought. His play, when healthy, will ultimately determine what kind of deal he receives, and his role in what became a very stout Cincinnati defense under Lou Anarumo might be enough to help him land with a contender.

The Baltimore Ravens might sign Chidobe Awuzie

The beloved veteran is still sticky enough in man coverage to warrant a multi-year deal. While his age might limit him to an outside exclusive role in his next contract, he remains a quality cover corner. Baltimore's defense asks a lot of their cornerbacks, and it might be better to give him a more prominent role than burning draft capital on a young player.

The Bengals have their replacements, so a bidding war between them and Baltimore won't develop. Ronald Darby is a free agent, which could give the Ravens an opportunity to build a cornerback room headlined by their expensive top dog in Marlon Humphrey and supplemented by Awuzie and Brandon Stephens.