The Baltimore Ravens head into a surprisingly critical offseason considering their very recent championship. Baltimore’s 8-8 record hides a bevy of flaws and a lack of talent at some key positions, so general manager Ozzie Newsome has plenty of work to do to fill those holes.
The odds are that at least some of that heavy lifting will be done via free agency, and here are some of the free-agent candidates that will pique Baltimore’s interest.
Before we get to the players, let’s be clear about one thing: The Ravens aren’t going to make headline-worthy free-agent signings.
For starters, it’s generally not their modus operandi unless a situation arises that they can’t pass up (see Dumervil, Elvis). Additionally, there isn’t enough cap room to sign all the Baltimore free agents, so Newsome certainly won’t be throwing money at other players on the market.
More importantly, the Ravens value compensatory picks and will generally pursue salary-cap casualties as opposed to unrestricted free agents. Newsome emphasized this point in his end-of-year press conference:
All of those players that we signed last year were free agents and weren’t UFAs [unrestricted free agents]. They were cap causalities of other teams, which allowed us to be able to maintain our compensatory picks for the guys that we lost. So, there is a rhyme and reason in how we acquire players—to continue to maintain our ability to stay strong going forward. And we will do the same [this year].
So keep in mind that most of the Ravens’ free-agent targets aren’t on the market yet (and we’ll get to one of those options in a bit).
Now, here are five players that the Ravens could go after in free agency (excluding their own free agents like Dennis Pitta and Eugene Monroe).