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Openthread: Which Ravens 2020 free agents should be prioritized?

An early discussion about the upcoming free agent class

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Minicamp Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves, but I’m confident Eric DeCosta and the management squad is doing the same. Therefore, we’ll continue with a quick discussion covering the Baltimore Ravens 2020 free agent class.

2020 Free Agents [OTC]

  • Jimmy Smith
  • Matt Judon
  • Willie Snead IV
  • Michael Pierce
  • Patrick Onwuasor
  • Anthony Levine Sr.
  • Alex Lewis
  • Willie Henry

I feel this is quite an easy answer, even this early in the season.

Matt Judon and his ‘secure the bag’ season is right here and right now. He won’t come cheap, either, as he watched Za’Darius Smith join the Green Bay Packers on a 4-year/$66 million deal, with $20 million guaranteed. With Judon as the veteran pass rusher on the field, he’ll command a lot of attention, both by the opposition and Eric DeCosta. Unless Tyus Bowser, Tim Williams and rookie Jaylon Ferguson step up and contribute in 2019, look for Judon to command strong leverage in the open market.

Though he’s been in the headlines for his current playing weight, Michael Pierce is still a name to watch for in 2020. He’s one of the best inside defensive lineman in the NFL.

I’m confident Pierce will come to training camp ready and prepared to earn the payday of his dreams. Each tackle for loss, sack and highlight of breaking through double teams will stay on both the radar for all NFL teams.

After letting C.J. Mosley walk in free agency this offseason, the Ravens must make another tough decision regarding the middle linebacker position a season later. Patrick Onwuasor is an unrestricted free agent after the 2019-2020 season comes to a close. If he continues to progress as expected, it may be tough to keep Peanut around. He may not earn the mega-millions as Mosley earned (5-year/$85 million with $43 million guaranteed), but he’ll still cash in nicely.

The enigmas for next season revolve around Jimmy Smith and Willie Snead. As everybody here knows, I’m always in Jimmy’s corner and believe he’ll contribute year after year. His performance on the field is dominant. At some point, though, teams get younger and build for the future. Can DeCosta keep him for a fair price? Will he stay for a “fair price”, or take the bigger deal elsewhere? The secondary is evolving and while I’d argue Smith is still in the future plans, DeCosta doesn’t appear afraid to put his business decisions above all else.

As for Snead, this one won’t be clear until the season is at least halfway over. If Snead is the prime target in moving the chains and scoring, I’d suspect Snead stays. If Lamar is spreading the ball around to Marquise Brown, Chris Moore, Miles Boykin, Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, we might see Snead in a different uniform after the season ends.

What are your thoughts? Who are you prioritizing right now?