Once again, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves in an inferior salary cap position this offseason. Improving their situation long term will require a three pronged solution from the front office:
- do a better job of keeping their best unrestricted free agents
- let the others walk
- extend more of their top young players early
Re-signing Wagner should be the first item on the offseason to-do list. Keeping the right tackle in Baltimore would maintain continuity at most spots along the offensive line with center as the only starting position in need of attention. At 27, Ricky offers upside and the possibility of long term above average bookend tackles.
C.J. Mosley (2019)
Mosley showed noticeable improvement in pass defense and created five turnovers in 2016. Since he was a first round selection the Ravens can pick up a fifth year option on his rookie contract, but that will only postpone unrestricted free agency for one year and cost roughly $6 million in 2018. A reasonable, long term extension would provide immense value if the rapid salary inflation continues.
The highest paid fullback in the NFL makes $2.1 million per year. Juice would be well worth that price tag over the next few seasons considering his role. His versatility as a H-back style pass catcher, a pass blocker in shotgun sets and a core special teamer allows the team to save money elsewhere.
Zachary Orr (Restricted Free Agent)
Orr’s range was a big part of the overall defensive improvement. The Ravens should extend him the second round tender at less than $3 million. Ideally, they could then negotiate a two or three year deal after the draft. If Orr signs an overly generous contract with another team, the Ravens would receive a second round pick as compensation.
Guy had a strong year, especially against the run. He is just 26, but the team has depth on the defensive line. Unless the front office aims to upgrade the pass rush at defensive end, a small multi-year deal for Guy is a good idea.
Timmy Jernigan (2018)
He will be an unrestricted free agent next offseason. If the team believes in Jernigan’s work ethic, it would be smart to lock him up before he doubles his sack total.
Although they will be looking to get bigger at corner, the Ravens could do worse than Powers as the number four cornerback.
Terrance West (RFA)
The low tender is appropriate for West. The team should try to keep him, but can replace him in the draft in another team is interested. Generally, running backs contracts are best one year at a time.
Vlad was up and down filling in at guard over the second half of the season. Not a bad backup but not a priority either.
Levine is a top special teamer and quality team player. But the Ravens have a lot of money invested in special teams between their kickers and other core contributors. Pinching pennies in some spots would help them splurge on other positions.
Patrick Onwuasor (Exclusive Rights Free Agent)
Dime linebacker and special teams potential. Worth the ERFA tender.
Mike Campanaro (ERFA)
As an exclusive rights free agent, the Ravens can keep Camp for close to the veteran minimum. His potential as a slot receiver and returner is worth one more chance.
Keenan Reynolds (ERFA)
The front office should give him a shot to prove he can play receiver/returner in training camp after a year in the system. If not, cut bait.
There are rumors Aiken was disgruntled with his role last season after a big 2015. Unless they release Mike Wallace and need a veteran presence, Aiken can be replaced in the draft.
Let Them Walk
B-Will is one of the better nose guards in the NFL and one of the Ravens best young players. But the team roster has a few intriguing defensive tackles behind him and run defense should be the last of their offseason worries. Williams is likely to be overpaid on the open market and basically told us to say goodbye with his recent reply to a question about a hometown discount by saying, “Hey, my hometown is St. Louis.”
Better to draft a successor at quarterback and save the cap space.
A fresh start is in the best interest of both parties.
The Ravens need a better swing tackle via either the draft or free agency.