An early start to the offseason wasn’t what the Baltimore Ravens were hoping for, but missing the playoffs gives the front office more time to figure out how to rebuild. The 2014 season may be a long way off, but creating a contender starts now. This offseason is critical for general manager Ozzie Newsome, and here are the most important issues the Ravens need to deal with.
It starts with keeping left tackle Eugene Monroe and tight end Dennis Pitta in Baltimore. The Ravens have done an excellent job of not overpaying their own free agents (e.g. Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe), so Monroe and Pitta may not stay if their price tags are too high.
Nevertheless, GM Newsome has to do everything in his power to lock both of them up to protect his biggest investment: Joe Flacco.
After that, there are plenty of needs to address, but the salary cap means that prioritization is the key. Obviously, we start with the offensive line. Baltimore is going nowhere unless it gets drastically better play from its O-line, and the Ravens can turn to free agency or the draft to tackle the issue.
Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda is the only offensive lineman that will definitely be starting on the O-line next season, so there could be plenty of changes coming—which is definitely a good thing.
Lastly, there is salary-cap pruning that needs to be done. Senior vice president of football operations Pat Moriarty is Baltimore’s salary-cap guru, and he’ll have to find some ways to free up cap space, either by restructuring contracts or releasing players outright.
There is plenty to be done, so view this as your offseason primer. This slideshow will touch on the most pressing problems facing the front office and highlight the steps to a perfect offseason.
In Oz We Trust.