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Ravens News 7/11: Safety competition, Flacco’s worth and more

NFL: Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Competition 2018: Safety - Ryan Mink

Key Role Players

Veteran Anthony Levine has been a valuable Swiss Armyknife that can step in at safety, cornerback or even linebacker in passing situations. He’s also been a key special teams player. However, he’s been sidelined so far this offseason as he recovers from foot surgery.

Most Anticipated Battle

The Ravens have six talented safeties and can’t keep them all. Often, special teams plays a big role in determining who makes the team at this position because safeties are well-suited for use on multiple special teams groups. Clark did well on special teams and is a rising young talent that coaches are excited about.

Levine made an impact with three sacks, three passes defensed, a fumble recovery and an interception last season, but his foot injury could put him on the roster bubble if it lingers. The Ravens could save $1.26 million against the cap if they release the veteran utility defender. However, if Levine is healthy, expect the Ravens to carry five safeties into the regular season: Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Chuck Clark, DeShon Elliott and Anthony Levine.

2017 Quarterbacks and Salary - Kevin Kolbe

The goal of this yearly series is to develop a formula to accurately gauge a quarterback’s worth. This will be done by comparing yearly cap hits to statistical performance, using TANY/A (Total Adjusted Net Yards/Attempt) and then by adjusting that base amount according to each player’s importance to his offense as measured by plays per game (PPG).

In addition to changing the methodology, all 2012 quarterbacks had their numbers change because I had incorrectly inputted Eli Manning’s contract value as $20.9 million (his 2013 value) instead of his actual value of $9.6 million. While that significantly decreased his “deficit” (and lowered the PAYD of all 2012 quarterbacks), he is still the worst value by PAYD over the last six years, though Joe Flacco is closing the gap.

This statistical model shows that Joe Flacco was paid $19.3 million more than he was ‘worth’ in 2017 and $43.7 million more than he was ‘worth’ since 2012. The 2017 figure is the worst in the NFL by more than $7 million and the 2012-2017 figure is second worst, ahead of only Eli Manning.

Baltimore Ravens position review: Linebackers provide rare star power - Aaron Kasinitz

That means below we’ll discuss two of the Ravens’ best players: Veteran edge rusher Terrell Suggs and rising leader C.J. Mosley. On a team that lacks top-notch starpower across the roster, Baltimore’s linebackers provide it. A host of hungry young players with game experience are vying to fill out the group on the second level of Baltimore’s defense.

LB Albert McClellan

Roster status: Potential starter

Skinny: McClellan thrived as a strong-side linebacker in 2016, but didn’t get the chance to build on the best year of his career, because he tore his ACL in August. With his health restored and his positional versatility offering options for the defense, the eighth-year pro will have a shot to win back a starting job.

LB Kamalei Correa

Roster status: Battling for a starting job

Skinny: Correa’s been a solid role player for the Ravens since entering the league as a second-round pick in 2016. Even if he doesn’t beat out McClellan or Onwuasor for more consistent playing time, Correa can contribute as a special teams stand out and a versatile reserve.

LB Kenny Young

Roster status: Fourth-round rookie

Skinny: Some experts were surprised Young didn’t fall further in the draft, but his impressive speed and agility at linebacker enticed Baltimore. While he faces an uphill climb to earn immediate playing time on defense, Young is an ideal special teams players at the NFL level.

OLB Tyus Bowser

Roster status: Roster hopeful

Skinny: Bowser played in all 16 games as a second-round rookie and displayed a few glimpses of potential in a limited role, finishing with three sacks and an interception on the season. Bowser’s hoping for a Year 2 jump, which would give Baltimore another effective piece to its pass-rushing rotation.

ILB Bam Bradley

Roster status: Roster hopeful

Skinny: As an undrafted rookie last season, Bradley earned a spot on the Ravens’ 53-man roster before an ACL injury in Week 2 provided a dark twist to the Pittsburgh product’s early NFL story. Bradley will be in the mix to compete for depth spots in the linebacking corps and on special teams this summer.

Tyus Bowser is probably the biggest x-factor on the Ravens defense, a breakout season from the second-year edge rusher could transform the unit from good to great. Elsewhere, Albert McClellan, Kamalei Correa, Kenny Young and Bam Bradley are likely competing for just two roster spots.