The initial wave of free agency has passed. The Ravens have been very active on the free agent market, but it doesn't seem like they are done yet. Their are still glaring needs to be addressed on the roster, and thus, the below list of the top 10 remaining free agents based on the Ravens needs.
1) Nick Mangold, C, New York Jets
Mangold’s place at the top of this list should not come as much of a surprise. As of now, the Ravens do not have a clear cut option to play center next season. In fact, Matt Skura and John Urschel are the only players listed as centers on the roster. Thus, the need for a center is of high importance. With Mangold, the Ravens will add a player who was once arguably the best center in the league. Mangold has deteriorated with age, but still will be an upgrade at the position over Jeremy Zuttah.
2) Zach Brown, ILB, Buffalo Bills
Zach Brown had one of the best seasons of any inside linebacker in the NFL last season, but still remains on the free agent market. The Bills switched to a 3-4 last season, and Brown thrived in it. The Ravens are in need of an inside linebacker to replace Zach Orr, and Brown may be able to do it at a low cost. As Brown’s 2016 Pro Bowl season was a breakout season for him, the Ravens would likely sign him to a short term prove-it type of a deal.
3) Gerald Hodges, ILB, San Francisco 49ers
Hodges didn’t have the same type of breakout season that Brown did, but the free agent inside linebacker from the San Francisco 49ers could prove to be a steal for the Ravens. Hodges had a solid 2016 season in San Francisco, posting 83 tackles, two interceptions, three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Hodges could come cheaper than Brown as he did not make the Pro Bowl like the Bills linebacker did, but the Ravens would be more likely to lock up Hodges for more than one year, as he has shown more consistency over his career than Brown. In addition, Hodges is just 26 years old.
4) Sebastian Vollmer, OT, New England Patriots
The Ravens need a right tackle to replace the Detroit bound Ricky Wagner, and Vollmer could fill that void. Vollmer is not the long term solution as he has struggled mightily with injuries and is 33 years old. But when Vollmer is healthy, he still can be one of the better right tackles in the league. If the Ravens can get two solid years out of the former Patriot, it will give them time to groom the long term option at the position which will be found in the draft this year. Vollmer’s market has been relatively quiet, and the Ravens may be able to sign him at a low cost.
5) Lardarius Webb, DB, Baltimore Ravens
This would purely be a move to add depth for the Ravens. Webb also shouldn’t cost much to bring back, and he is able to be a safety net (no pun intended) at two different positions. If the Ravens suffer an injury at safety or corner, they could have the option of filling the spot with a long tenured starter in Webb.
6) Kevin Minter, ILB, Arizona Cardinals
Minter is another young inside linebacker option. Minter had not lived up to his second round draft status until his breakout 2016 season. He wasn’t as good as Brown or Hodges, but he has potential as he is just 26 years old. Pro Football Focus graded Minter as the 25th best linebacker in 2016 with a grade of 81.0.
7) Ryan Clady, OT, New York Jets
Clady is another option at right tackle that the Ravens could take. Clady will also be a veteran stopgap at the position, and he is younger than Vollmer. Yes, Clady playes left tackle, so he would need to learn the the right side. Clady also has some injury concerns similar to Vollmer. In the end Clady will come to Baltimore as a cheap veteran stopgap, despite the concerns.
8) DeAndre Levy, OLB, Detroit Lions
To be upfront, Levy would not be the best fit in Baltimore. Levy was an outside linebacker in Detroit’s 4-3 base defense. Over the course of his tenure in Detroit, Levy was a tackling machine. Thus, Levy will be moved to inside linebacker in Baltimore. Levy has the tackling ability to thrive in the middle, but it is no guarantee. Levy may be worth a shot on a short contract.
9) Elvis Dumervil, OLB, Baltimore Ravens
Dumervil is definitely not the player he once was, but similarly to many players on this list, he can be a veteran stopgap on a short and inexpensive contact. Hopefully, the Ravens could get a handful of sacks out of Dumervil, but his starting role is no longer guaranteed, especially if the Ravens draft a young pass rusher such as Derek Barnett in the early rounds.
10) John Sullivan, C, Washington Redskins
Sullivan isn’t the best option at center, but if the Ravens miss on Mangold, Sullivan becomes a solid option. Sullivan is younger than Mangold, and has starting experience. In addition, Sullivan should come much cheaper than Mangold would.
Comment below who you think are the top priorities for the Ravens in free agency before the draft.