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Ravens News 8/16: Best WR contracts, over/under prediction and more

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

PFF’s Best Contracts - Top 5 NFL wide receiver contracts for 2018 - Gordon McGuinness

1. WILLIE SNEAD, BALTIMORE RAVENS

An undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns in 2014 out of Ball State, Snead first saw the field in 2015 as a member of the New Orleans Saints, and he made a big impact straight away. Between 2015 and 2016, he produced PFF receiving grades of 73.3 and 76.7, before having his 2017 season impacted by suspension and injury. In 2016, his yards per route run average of 1.89 from the slot ranked 14th among wide receivers, while he dropped just 6.7 percent of his passes when lined up inside. With just $1 million per year guaranteed, this is a good contract for the Ravens to take a chance on.

The front office lured Willie Snead with a 2-year, $7 million contract. If he does not meet expectations in 2018, he can be released next offseason with just a $1 million dead cap charge.

How Will Lamar Jackson Fit into Baltimore’s Offense? 10 Thoughts on the 2018 Ravens - Andy Benoit

3. A run-based approach can help an unathletic offensive line, since run-blocking is proactive movement, not reactive like in pass-blocking. Still, Baltimore’s front-line limitations will be a concern. Center Ryan Jensen’s free agency defection to Tampa Bay and six-time Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda coming off ankle and shoulder injuries leave this line weak on the interior. And if rookie Orlando Brown, who fell to the third round after a disastrous combine, can’t acclimate, the Ravens will be left with perhaps the NFL’s worst right tackle situation.

7. Linebacker C.J. Mosley is another reason Martindale can disguise. Even when he’s aligned as a possible A-gap rusher (which is often in this scheme), Mosley is shrewd in zone coverage. He has a great feel for routes unfolding behind him, and he’s fast enough to make up ground after getting extra depth in his drops. That’s how you frustrate QBs with blurred coverages. The only gripe about Mosley is he must bounce back from what was, by his high standards, an up-and-down season in run defense.

Coordinator Martindale should consider sending Mosley on more A-gap blitzes. C.J. tallied seven sacks during his first two seasons compared to only one over his last two combined.

Examining the Over/Under 2018 Win Totals for the AFC North - Matt Josephs

Baltimore Ravens

Over 8.5 wins -110...Under 8.5 wins -110

Verdict: Baltimore’s offense is going to be very hit-or-miss considering they don’t have that game-breaker that will scare defenses. Plus, if Flacco struggles, the cries for Jackson will grow louder and louder. The Ravens have four of their first six games on the road, but also three straight at home in November. I think the under is worth a look here. This team screams 8-8.

The schedule makers did the Ravens no favors with a Week 2 Thursday night game in Cincinnati. Another primetime road game in Pittsburgh begins a six week gauntlet before the bye week. From Week 4 through Week 9, Baltimore will play four road games and five 2017 playoff participants.