Baltimore Ravens (10-6)
Projected over/under: 9 wins
Baltimore continues to profile as a better team by advanced metrics than by on-field performance; after going 9-7 with 10.4 Pythagorean wins in 2017, it improved to 10-6 with 10.8 Pythagorean wins in 2018. The Ravens should force more takeaways in 2019 after the same defense that racked up 34 in 2017 fell to 17 this season, but they’ll play a first-place schedule, which means they’ll get the Chiefs and Texans in lieu of the Chargers and Colts.
The perennially cap-strapped Ravens also won’t realize many of the savings after they move on from Joe Flacco until 2020, given that they would eat $16 million in dead money with a Flacco trade. That would leave Baltimore with $41 million in cap room, but it will need to use that room to re-sign C.J. Mosley and John Brown and to start working on deals for restricted free agents Patrick Onwuasor and Michael Pierce.
The Ravens out-of-division schedule includes home dates with the Texans, Patriots, Jets, Cardinals and 49ers. Their 2019 road slate features matchups against the Bills, Rams, Dolphins, Chiefs and Seahawks.
2019 NFL mock draft 1.0: Kyler Murray to Raiders - Lance Zierlein
22. Josh Jacobs - RB
School: Alabama | Year: Junior The best way to help a young quarterback ( Lamar Jackson, in this case) is to take pressure off of him with a talented, every-down running back. Jacobs is the best in this draft at his position.
First round running backs often prove to be poor investments. However, Baltimore’s unconventional offensive scheme could benefit from adding a versatile talent to the backfield committee of Gus Edwards and Kenneth Dixon. Jacobs is a decisive runner who uses excellent vision and balance to maximize his attempts. He is also a bonafide receiving weapon and perhaps most importantly, should have longevity after a relatively light workload at Alabama.
For ILB C.J. Mosley, is the franchise tag in play for him? (Jamison Hensley) “I think everything is on the table right now. I certainly hope that C.J. is back. I believe in my heart that he will be. We’re having those discussions now. I think we have several different strategies in place. We’re in the business of keeping our good football players. Talent wins in the NFL, and he’s a Pro Bowl linebacker, so we’re going to do what we can to make sure that C.J. is back on the team.”
It’s been a while since you’ve had a quarterback on a rookie deal. How do you think that will affect things, in terms of free agency and the money that you have to spend? (Garrett Downing) “I think it’s great. As I said, one of the things that we want to do is put ourselves in a really good salary cap situation now and also moving forward. That’s the goal, that’s the challenge. I think we can get there. I think we’ll make strides this year. I think we’ll make more strides next year. Moving forward, that’s our plan. So, having a quarterback on a rookie deal is a big part of that.”
The closer a guy gets to free agency, the closer it obviously is to sign him. Does having a quarterback on rookie deal allow you to lock up guys early this year before they hit free agency? Will that be a goal? (Jeff Zrebiec) “I think that would be a goal, for sure. I think that we would love to keep as much young talent as we can in Baltimore. That’s hard to do at times when you have a really, really good quarterback who’s making a lot of money, and you have less cap room. It is tougher for you to keep your roster intact. It is a lot easier to do when you don’t have those parameters. So, I think that if we can do that, we certainly should investigate that. It’s something we’ve talked about it at length. We discussed that in Jupiter [Fla.]. We’ll discuss that again, probably, this week and next week. What are the best strategies we can use to keep our football as intact or for as long as possible?”