Will Any More Unsigned Baltimore Ravens Free Agents Re-sign?
By Braden Kletz
While the NFL Draft season is upon us, the Baltimore Ravens still have some decisions to make in free agency.
The Ravens have 10 unrestricted free agents that remain unsigned. I will go through each player and give my verdict on their likelihood to return and the impact it would have on the team.
1. Marcus Peters (Cornerback)
Coming off of a tough ACL tear prior to the 2021 season, Marcus Peters was able to find his footing later in the 2022-23 NFL season. Peters has been a huge part of the Ravens' defensive identity for some years now, and even rehabbing I saw some flashes of the all-pro player we saw in 2019.
With that being said it's unlikely that Peters will return due to the amount of money he might command elsewhere. In addition, a full season could expose his ACL injury, and such a risk could deter Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta.
The Ravens are in need of cornerbacks, but many believe it will be through the draft or a veteran minimum type of player. Even if there's a dip in his play, Peters is still a more valuable player than that.
2. Kenyan Drake (Running Back)
With Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins returning slowly into the 2022 season, former Arizona Cardinal Kenyan Drake fit the bill to plug in that hole to begin the season. Although younger, Drake's presence in Baltimore was similar to Devonta Freeman's in 2021.
Edwards and Dobbins returned last year quite strong, both averaging at least five yards per carry in their time spent on the field. And with running back and special-teamer Justice Hill signing a two-year extension, there won't be any room for Drake on the roster.
3. Kyle Fuller (Cornerback)
Kyle Fuller was another plug-in player last season for Marcus Peters as he a one-year deal worth $2.5 million. Fuller looked like a solid replacement in training camp and for a part of the opening game before tearing his left ACL at the end of the New York Jets game.
It seems likely the Ravens will address the cornerback position either in the NFL draft or in free agency after the fact, but I don't see it being the 31-year-old Fuller. He's coming off of a notoriously difficult injury and there are many cornerbacks still on the market.
4. Jason Pierre Paul (Outside Linebacker)
After the injury of newly signed defensive tackle Michael Pierce (among others), Jason Pierre-Paul was added to this long list of plug-and-play guys the Ravens signed to small one-year deals.
JPP definitely had his moments, but there's no place for him on this team.
5. Demarcus Robinson (Wide Receiver)
Of all the players on this list, I believe Demarcus Robinson has the best chance of returning to the Ravens. He had some solid production last year and would not cost too much. I think he could round out the receiver group well if no other receivers are added to the roster.
Robinson's fate on the team will heavily depend on what the Ravens end up drafting, but I do believe Robinson will return next season.
6. Justin Houston (Outside Linebacker)
Outside of Marcus Peters, Justin Houston is the longest-tenured Raven on this list. Even though he's climbing in age, Houston has been a solid addition over the last two years, leading the team in sacks last year and was third the year before.
It seems like Justin Houston is the most sure-fire player to contribute to the Ravens' sack total, but it seems more plausible for Eric DeCosta to use the draft to address the outside linebacker position and rely on progression from young guys like Odafe Oweh, Tyus Bowser and Daelin Hayes.
7. Ja'Wuan James (Offensive Tackle)
The Ravens took a chance on Ja'Wuan James last offseason after he settled a grievance lawsuit with the Denver Broncos after tearing his Achilles, banking on his recovery to help ensure the left tackle position. While James did show some promise at the beginning of the year, he re-tore his Achilles, this time completely off the bone.
With the injury struggle of Ronnie Stanley over the last couple of years, it seems unlikely for the Ravens to spend any money re-signing him.
8. Sammy Watkins (Wide Receiver)
After Devin Duvernay suffered a foot injury later in the season, the Ravens claimed Sammy Watkins after he was waived by the Green Bay Packers. Similar to his first tenure with the Ravens, his presence was slightly underwhelming.
It's important to include that the Ravens weren't necessarily pass-happy with quarterback Tyler Huntley running the show, but Watkins was by no means impressive. For that reason and my belief of Robinson returning, I don't believe Watkins will return.
9. Steven Means (Outside Linebacker)
Steven Means tore his achilles in September of 2022, however he showed promise in training camp beforehand. As I said before, a torn achilles is not something easy to return from, but at the same time Means won't command much money.
I expect the Ravens to sign Means to a deal for training camp, but I could see him being released before the season starts if a younger player outplays him.
10. Vince Biegel (Outside Linebacker)
Just like Means, Vince Biegel also tore his ACL, but he wasn't able to touch the field at all in 2022.
Unless Biegel ends up being a camp body, he will not be on the roster.
The draft will dictate my opinions on this list heavily, but the overwhelming sentiment is that most if not all of these players will not be in purple and black next year. DeCosta has made it very clear that he takes the "best available" approach, so if he doesn't target the biggest needs of the Ravens, cheap returning free agents could be a useful avenue.