The Baltimore Ravens have a number of holes open on their team, either with regards to much needed depth given the number of injuries they've seen the last two seasons, or even to replace starters and upgrade. We here at Baltimore Beatdown will be looking at a new potential free agent that the Ravens could have their eyes on this offseason to help fill that void every week.
The Ravens have obvious needs at wide receiver, offensive line, cornerback, safety, linebacker, and pass rusher. While the prospects we will go over in this series of articles could potentially be resigned by their current team, we'll try to address that in the article itself and even list out what we think they'll get contract wise to see if they might be a good fit for the team or not.
First up is the position that the Ravens have been clear they need to attack first and foremost, pass rusher. The guy that every team has on their radar is outside linebacker Von Miller. Of course, it's beyond doubtful that the Ravens could afford the Denver Bronco and it's even less likely that Miller leaves Denver, but let's just see what we have here in case there is another fax snafu.
Von Miller - OLB
Von Miller is easily one of the top pass rushers in the league, rated eighth overall this season in number of sacks with 11. Over his five year career, the outside linebacker has amassed 60 sacks, for an average of 12 a season, despite being injured and missing a good portion of one of those seasons. Keep in mind that the Ravens had the top pass rushing duo in 2014 with Terrell Suggs getting 12 sacks and Elvis Dumervil getting 17 and were beyond happy with that production.
If the Ravens could get a guy that when healthy, is averaging closer to 14 sacks per season, they would have plenty of roster options available to them. They could choose to move on from either Suggs or Dumervil immediately or look to transition over for when Suggs is set to retire. It would mark a great upgrade for the Ravens and a perfect transition given that Miller is only 26 years old and entering the prime of his career.
The big problem comes from the contract of course. Being one of the top potential free agent pass rushers, every team in the league will be interested in Von Miller. That means money is going to be thrown at him like he's a stripper in a high-end part of town. Just how much is where things get a little tricky for us.
Miller is coming off his rookie contract where he has outplayed every bit of it. He's going to want to get paid just like any high performing pass rusher would in this situation. Looking at similar high end pass rushers, you have to look no further than the Kansas City Chiefs and Justin Houston. With 56 sacks to his same five year career, these two stack up as closely as you could want. Sadly for the Ravens, that means that they almost assuredly can't afford Miller at all.
Justin Houston is the top paid outside linebacker in the game with an average of $16,833,333 per year on a six-year deal. While Miller has more total sacks than Justin Houston, Houston has the higher single season record between the two with a 22 sack season in 2014. Even if the deal for Von Miller is the same or slightly less than Houston's, it is still pushing quarterback money that the Ravens just won't have.
The more likely scenario if Von Miller were to hit the free agent market would be a deal that should exceed what Justin Houston got in July of 2015 by a little bit. There are a couple of teams that have a ton of cap space available and could use a top pass rusher to bolster their defense. All of this is of course saying that the Denver Broncos don't figure out how to keep him in town, which will be their top priority this offseason.
Sadly for the Ravens, there is just no way that a deal could work here. Even a faulty fax won't be able to help them this time around like it did with former Denver Bronco Elvis Dumervil.