Question: Which pending free agents should the Ravens resign?
Yitzi Weiss: Shareece Wright, at a reasonable price. Osemele will likely be priced out of our range, but we need to at least try. McClellan will likely be back. Tucker obviously.
Chuck Mills: Osemele, if it's feasible. Justin Tucker definitely. Shareece Wright, at a reasonable price.
Brian Malan: Easy, you have to make every effort possible to bring Osemele back. Too much talent at such a young age on an OL that is going to be facing serious questions after this season to not keep around to secure your future somewhat at either LG or LT. After 2016, Wagner will be up for a new contract and could get big money elsewhere if he has a quality season, and both Monroe and Zuttah will be easier cuts and greater cap savings if we feel the need to do so. That could leave us with a 32 year old Yands as the only reliable OLineman that we know can produce. Locking up Osemele long term gives us so much room to concentrate elsewhere along the line in the future. I think you have to do everything possible to not let him get away.
I also think trying to keep Upshaw around should be a somewhat "priority." Upshaw does more for this defense than people think, and the players and coaches will tell you that also. He is the pure "football player" that you love having play next to you. I think he can be had for very similar to what we gave Jarrett Johnson in his 2nd contract with us, who was in an almost identical spot as Upshaw as JJ was coming in during certain packages for Adalius Thomas. I think a 3 year deal for around $3M a year filled with incentives would be fair. We will miss him more than people think.
Wola Odeniran: I think that there are only three players that the Baltimore Ravens need to re-sign and they are offensive tackle/guard Kelechi Osemele, kicker Justin Tucker and cornerback Shareece Wright. All of this, of course depends on the asking price. I think the Ravens will get something done with Tucker with a franchise tag being the last solution.
In terms of Wright, he was good corner for the Ravens during the second half of the season so when you have issues in the secondary like the Ravens have, you want to keep as much talent as possible in that department. But if his asking price is more than what the Ravens want, the Ravens can afford to pass on a contract extension in that regard.
With Osemele, I think it is doubtful that the Ravens will get something done with him. Never say never, but I think the Ravens would be willing to let Osemele walk and earn his money in free agency while the Ravens possibly earn a third round compensation pick for him during the 2017 offseason.
Chris "Braven" Brown: The good news, first. The keepers. Shareece Wright should return after a promising 2015 stint; Will Davis should also return. I guess I am focused on the defensive backfield, the reason that they are first. Justin Tucker should be signed, and I think he wants to remain a Raven and won't need the tag. Kelechi Osemele should be kept, franchised if necessary. He's just too good. I'd like Courtney Upshaw and Albert McClellan to return. I like the continuity and chance to improve with them both. Keep Pro Bowler Morgan Cox, Keep Kamar Aiken and LB Zachary Orr. Aiken is going to explode next season, and Orr is also ready to become a legendary-type Ravens 'backer. Keep Terrence West and Kaelin Clay, and let them compete in camp with their respective position mates--especially Clay, who might compete with a draft choice for KR/PR. Chris Matthews has way too much upside to let go. I really like him. Keep S Brynden Trawick, who is another key cog in the #1 Special Teams unit. Also, keep around Cap Capi, a speed rusher that no one knows, but is a diamond in the rough. Last but not least, keep DANIEL BROWN, the WR whom I think can be a real star in this league, in the mold of Cris Collinsworth or Jordy Nelson. Will someone please hear me screaming, "This guy is a winner!" ?! Clearly, I like a lot of our ingredients and would like to build through the draft, from here.
Vasilis Lericos: K.O. should be the priority, retaining him improves the pass and rush offense while enabling the Ravens to invest most of their remaining assets on fixing the defense. I'd go up to $8M AAV over 5 years for K.O. Tucker is another one who should be resigned, don't want to over invest in special teams and he missed a lot of kicks last year but his biggest value is his clutch-ness. S. Wright would be the last major target for me, provided he accepts a 'cheap' two to three year contract offer. Upshaw can be replaced in the draft.
Question: Which players on the Ravens roster should be released to create salary cap space?
Yitzi Weiss: Daryl Smith. Monroe only if KO is resigned. Arrington is a no brainer. Lewis probably hold onto until camp. Same with Arthur Brown. Canty.
Chuck Mills: Kendrick Lewis, Chris Canty, Kyle Arrington, Daryl Smith, and Monroe, if Osemele is able to return.
Brian Malan: Even though I wouldn't like to see him gone, I think releasing ILB Daryl Smith makes the most sense. Not because he can't produce, but because we can get younger and similar production while saving nearly $3M in cap. Although there are other players on the roster much mor deserving of being cut to save cap (Monroe, Pitta, Arrington) I think the 80/20 rule fits best with Daryl Smith. We can probably get 80% production for 20% the cost from Zach Orr, who was already coming for Smith in certain packages, or a rookie ILB if we went that route. Love having a smart, hardworking veteran like Daryl Smith on this team, but we have to look at the business side of it sometimes.
Wola Odeniran: Tight end Dennis Pitta is a strong candidate as his career is unfortunately in question. Pitta hasn’t played since early on in the 2014 season and dealing with multiple hip injuries like Pitta has suffered is a risky thing to deal with from his perspective as it is obviously a contact sport. Pitta’s cap number is 7.2 million dollars this year. It is highly unlikely that the Ravens will just let 7.2 million dollars sit on the table for the 2016 season.
Defensive end Chris Canty is another player who is a candidate to be released as his cap number this season is 2.9 million. Cornerback Kyle Arrington counts 2.7 million dollars against the cap he is another guy to look out for.
A wild card in my opinion is veteran inside linebacker Daryl Smith. Yes, Daryl Smith led the Ravens in tackles last season with 121, but he is a 12 year veteran and his cap number is 4.3 million dollars in 2016.
Chris "Braven" Brown: ...Aaaaand the bad news. Anyone not listed above, who is a free agent, we release. The most notable names are Chris Givens, who just didn't produce like we had hoped and might have lost a step; Matt Schaub ('Nuff said.); Marlon Brown, who raises questions of focus and desire. Penalty factory Ryan Jensen just doesn't show me enough upside to keep, whereas he had a costly penalty in most of his games from late November on (he didn't start the season on top of the depth chart). Sure, he's mauler, but too unrefined for his level of experience. Of this released group, Terrence McGee is the one I would hope could return in some capacity; I like him more than fellow RB Lorenzo Taliaferro, to be honest.
The Ravens do not need to overhaul, just tweak, refresh, and add 1-3 Futureshockers, to get over the top. Breshaud Perriman will be one of those. So will Jalen Ramsey!
VETERAN CUT LIST: This might answer the question more closely: I think we should move Eugene Monroe if he does not want to renegotiate; we should cut Kyle Arrington, Kendrick Lewis, who were both liabilities on the defensive back end. I am assuming that Pitta will renegotiate. But, NO to Wola and Yitzi--We've got to keep Daryl Smith!!!
Vasilis Lericos: My opinion is that the Ravens should be more aggressive than usual in shedding salary. They are coming off a 5 win season and the core of the team has gotten older, want to see a more flexible cap situation in the coming offseasons. The obvious candidates include Canty (decline option), Arrington and Levine along with Pitta post June. Daryl Smith and Forsett are the controversial ones, I would 80/20 both at this juncture in the Ravens championship arc. Monroe and Webb are more tricky, would keep Webb if he accepts a large pay cut, would keep Monroe if they cannot work out something with Osemele. One of Webb or Monroe will likely be gone, can't keep hoping injury prone players stay healthy. As the saying goes, "Better to cut an aging player a year too early than a year too late."