On Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens held their annual pre-draft press conference featuring John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta, Joe Horitz, and Ozzie Newsome. The four discussed all the top topics heading into the 2017 NFL Draft that is only a few weeks away.
They mentioned wide receivers Mike Williams and John Ross coming in for visits that were reported earlier in the day. DeCosta discussed the importance of getting a cornerback in the first three rounds of the draft and Newsome talked about teams already inquiring with the Ravens about trading for their 16th pick. Heck, we even saw a pretty cool video package documenting the teams success with their past draft picks before the press conference began.
The presser had a lot of the usual tidbits, but just as it was about to end, Newsome said something quite interesting. Especially when you consider the fact that free agent center Nick Mangold was in town for a visit. His visit concluded without a deal. Here is what Newsome said via ESPN's Jamison Hensley:
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said there is a "high probability" that the team will add a free agent before the draft.... https://t.co/BQpO3STMNJ— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) April 5, 2017
This is something Ozzie doesn't usually let out of the bag during these pre-draft press conferences. With the timing of this statement, it's hard to overlook the possibility of the Ravens reaching a deal with Mangold, or maybe some other free agent.
Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun mentioned on Tuesday that the Ravens were bringing Mangold in to check to see if he was healthy coming off an ankle injury that put him on injured reserve last year. It is important to note that Mangold's visit was never once brought up during the press conference, so who knows what free agent Newsome and his staff have in mind?
Newsome's statement and Mangold's visit contradict what team president Dick Cass said at the owners meetings when he stated that they were done in free agency until May 9th when free agent signings don't count towards compensatory picks. Of course, signing Mangold wouldn't hurt the compensatory pick formula anyway since he was released from his contract by the New York Jets two months ago.
Either way, we shall see what Ozzie Newsome has in mind before he turns the Ravens draft card in on April 27th. He is certainly working hard to make the team better this upcoming season.