The Baltimore Ravens enter this offseason with work to do. The front office and coaching staff must find a way to make the playoffs for the first time since 2014, after coming one play short this season. With this being general manager Ozzie Newsome's final offseason before Eric DeCosta takes over, Newsome has to make the offense the biggest priority after owner Steve Bisciotti made that clear two weeks ago. Newsome's main job is to find a true, number one tight end and number one wide receiver for QB Joe Flacco, but it won't be easy.
The Ravens have $10 million in cap space according to OverTheCap.com, but Bisciotti mentioned they will manage it with restructures to create more money to get said playmakers. Releases to players like Jeremy Maclin, Brandon Carr, Danny Woodhead, Lardarius Webb and Austin Howard could be on the horizon. Money isn't the only problem of course, competition will also be a factor from other teams. One of them could be the Chicago Bears.
The Bears are coming off another last place finish in the NFC North, but this one feels different. There is a feeling of optimism in Chicago with their young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, a two-headed running attack led by Jordan Howard, and a solid defense. The Bears have made it clear their mission this offseason is to make Trubisky comfortable. Chicago started this by firing John Fox and bringing in offensive mind and relatively unknown Matt Nagy as their new head coach. Nagy was the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs for the past two years, and Chicago then brought in Mark Helfrich as their offensive coordinator from the college ranks. Helfrich was in charge of the Oregon Ducks offense as the head coach from 2013-2016, before spending 2017 as an analyst for Fox Sports.
At wide receiver, the Bears have just as many question marks as the Ravens. Chicago lost their top receiver Cameron Meredith in the preseason to a torn ACL, and their top tight end Zach Miller suffered a broken foot in 2016 and his career was in serious jeopardy after a horrific knee injury in Week 8 of this past year. Meredith will return, but Kendall Wright, who is coming off a solid year, is hitting the market as a free agent. Tight end Dion Sims only produced 15 receptions in 2017 and his status on the team is in doubt. Chicago does like their 2017 second round pick tight end Adam Shaheen, though.
All indicators point towards both teams searching for guys to help their quarterbacks. On numerous mock drafts, analysts predict the Ravens and Bears go the route of offensive skill-position players. The top receiver in this years draft is Calvin Ridley, has been mocked to both Chicago and Baltimore. The Bears are ahead of Baltimore with the eighth pick in the draft, and I do think if the Ravens don't trade up to get Ridley, he's not getting past the Bears.
When it comes to the salary cap, the Bears currently have $41 million in cap space. Giving them ammunition to make a run at a few pass-catchers such as WR Jarvis Landry or TE Jimmy Graham. Both the Bears and Ravens attempted trading for Landry at some point last year, but now he will be entering the market with the possibility of both teams going after him along, with others like the Cleveland Browns or the San Francisco 49ers.
The Bears beat the Ravens last season at M&T Bank Stadium in one of the more gut-wrenching losses of the year for Baltimore. A loss that would come back to haunt them throughout the 2017 campaign. This offseason, the Ravens will have to keep a close eye on the Bears again, as they are both on the lookout for weapons to improve their offenses for 2018.