While the Ravens focused the first week of free agency on acquiring targets for Joe Flacco, many other teams were busy signing new signal callers. Baltimore was never a candidate in the quarterback frenzy, but the league will look significantly different next season. With at least 12 NFL teams set to have a new face at the helm of their offense to start 2018, will the Ravens respond to the offseason changes by keeping the status quo, signing an available backup or drafting a prospective future starter?
The 2017-2018 season proved that a high-quality backup quarterback is worth the investment. Understanding that it is rare to have a Nick Foles waiting in the wings, Baltimore still needs to upgrade from free agent Ryan Mallett. If the Ravens still believe Joe Flacco is their long term option, they may target remaining free agents like Geno Smith, Blaine Gabbert or even Johnny Manziel.
Compared to other remaining options like Drew Stanton and Matt Moore who are over 30 years old, Geno Smith, Blaine Gabbert and Johnny Manziel do have the benefit of youth. Even so, none of these players have shown the kind of promise that would give Baltimore confidence in their ability to blossom into a franchise-leading player any time soon.
If Baltimore is more forward-thinking, understanding the limitations of both Joe Flacco’s age and injury history, they could find inspiration from the Kansas City Chiefs’ 2017 draft strategy. Selecting Patrick Mahomes out of Texas Tech with the 10th overall pick, the Chiefs essentially put Alex Smith on notice. With Alex Smith now in Washington, Patrick Mahomes will look to bring the playoff success his predecessor always fell short of producing.
The Ravens would likely surprise, but perhaps not shock, the league if they selected a quarterback 16th overall. Look for the Ravens to more plausibly draft a quarterback in the second round with the 52nd pick, especially if a talent like Lamar Jackson is still available. If the Ravens decide to not prioritize the position, J.T. Barrett out of Ohio State may be a player to look for late in the draft or to sign as an undrafted free agent.