Welcome to this edition of the Raven’s Mailbag. There is good and bad news. The bad news is that it is Monday, but the good news is that we’re one week closer to Ravens football! As usual, we took to the realms of social media to see what questions Raven’s fans had for us. It was a tough cut, but we ultimately these are the ones we picked.
@BRILLIANT2552 asks: Do you think signing Nick Mangold would be a good idea?
If the deal is cheap enough, I would say yes. The Ravens have questions along the offensive line, including center where a lot of people are unhappy with the performance of Jeremy Zuttah. Mangold is 33 however, so it may not be wise to bring him in unless the team is 100 percent sold they can make a run with him.
@BigHass_ asks: Who would you identify as the "game-breaking" running backs that we would want? Preferably in the mid-rounds.
Great question! I truly believe Jamaal Williams and Kareem Hunt are two studs that have the ability to change games. Hunt weighed in a little lighter than expected at the Senior Bowl, so he’s one to keep a close eye on. As for Williams, I didn't think his line at BYU was particularly good, but he often made something out of nothing. My biggest concern with Williams lies within his health. He’s missed a considerable amount of time in his career, so that is something to monitor.
@DanAbeshouse82 asks: Realistically, how do you see free agency going down for the Ravens this year?
I believe the team will add some middle of the pack names, but I don't see them making a splash. I’ve mentioned before that they can do a lot of different things to free up nearly $30 million in cap room, but that leaves them thin at defensive back. I believe if they were to make a splash though, it would be for Tony Jefferson. The team can save $5 million by cutting Ladarius Webb and Jefferson is expected to make around $7 million or so a year. If they don't make many moves but still make the cuts, they could go into next offseason with a lot of money to spend.
@srgDCFC asks: Chances we look at Flacco restructuring contract? If he wants to win, he must know it's ludicrous cap figure.
I think those chances are very slim. Flacco restructured last year to give the team some breathing room. I can’t imagine him restructuring in back-to-back years, but if he wants to see someone like Rick Wagner return to the team, after losing Osemele last year, it could momentarily be on the table.
@rlukeclifford asks: If we let Zutta go, Wagner walk and Ducasse walk, could you see the Ravens picking up Joeckel, Warmack, and Mangold for a cheaper price then the latter?
Those are all interesting possibilities. I discussed Mangold earlier, but one of our writers actually addressed the possibility of adding Warmack, so make sure to check that one out. Luke Joeckel is an interesting possibility. The Jaguars are likely to try to re-sign him to play guard, but if he’s looking to play tackle he may be on the market. Joeckel has struggled with poor play and injuries since coming into the league and I don't foresee him righting that ship in Baltimore, but a career renaissance shouldn't be ruled out. Baltimore might kick the tires, but I’d lean towards it being unlikely.
@Cody9889 asks: Future of Buck Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro. I think all are capable of being starters.
They may be starters somewhere else, but not here. The team is likely to add a halfback in the draft and roll with West/Dixon/Rookie. If I had to pick one, I’d lean towards Allen, but I don't think either will ever be the lead back in Baltimore.
Chris Stackhouse asks: What is it about Kamar Aiken that I'm missing? I thought he filled in admirably when Steve Smith was injured in 2015, why not push harder to keep and utilize him?
The Ravens have a log-jam when it comes to receivers that work well within 20 yards of the line of scrimmage. Between all of the tight ends on the roster, Steve Smith, Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman, consistent targets are hard to come by. I think Aiken walks, but I think if he goes to the right team he could be a 1,000 yard receiver. I don't think they push too hard to keep him because they feel like what he does can be executed by the other pass catchers on the team.
Dillon Ennis asks: Is Ozzie Newsome overrated? Look at the past five to six drafts and tell me who's he hit on, and we're constantly on cap space hiatus until possibly this year. He overpays quite a few players and won't pay others.
Interesting question Dillon. I believe he had done well early in franchise history and hit on quite a few HOF players. The obvious ones being Lewis, Reed and Ogden in addition to stud players such as Peter Boulware and Jamal Lewis, but it is fair to question what he has done recently. Players such as Arthur Brown and Matt Elam have busted and he let Osemele walk. Ozzie’s recent hits include C.J. Mosley and Brandon Williams (who will likely depart in free agency) but I do feel good about Tavon Young, Breshad Perriman and Ronnie Stanley. One thing I will say is that the team excels at evaluating players who are already in the league. Signings such as Weddle and Smith reinforce this mentality. I don't think he’s been as successful in the draft recently, but if a few of those 2016 picks hit, we’re discussing how he’s one of the smartest guys in the league.
That’s all for this week! Make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter as we look for next week’s questions. Stay tuned to Baltimore Beatdown, as we will have all of the NFL Combine coverage this week!