Welcome to “Stay or Go?” A prediction series that takes a look at upcoming Ravens free agents and provides a verdict on whether they’ll remain in the picture with the team, and dishes out some predictions on how things will shake out one way or the other.
In this exercise, we’ll be sticking with the unrestricted free agents, and in one case, a club option controlled player. We’re trying to evaluate players who have a market value on Spotrac’s 2020 NFL Free Agents tracker, with a few exceptions being made – anyone left off of that is someone we’re assuming could be brought back relatively easily.
We hope you enjoy and sound off in the comments about what you think is going to happen in free agency!
ENTERING: 5th SEASON
AGE: WILL BE 28 ENTERING WEEK 1
CONTRACT STATUS: UFA
Another player, another once “rising star” in the Ravens defense who has since cooled off a bit. He had a breakout year in 2018 after riding the pine to start his career as a former undrafted free agent, and he looked set to slot into the starting role heading into this season.
To put it mildly, he disappointed, and maybe the most tacit acknowledgment of the poor job he did in that role was the fact that he was replaced with two guys off the street in Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort. He re-entered the lineup in a bit of a rotational role later in the year and performed adequately enough that Wink Martindale seemed to regain some confidence in his abilities.
While PFF seems to recognize Peanut has had a bit of a fall from grace (grading him out at a 49.2 overall), Spotrac’s market valuation for him still seems to be somewhat decent. They value him at $4.8M average annual salary, projecting him to earn that over a speculated four-year contract.
It seems a bit optimistic that Onwuasor would generate that much of a bump in pay considering a somewhat rough 2019 season, but he has shown promise in the past and his playmaking ability was on display at times for Baltimore last year as well. Regardless, it’s hard for me to sit here and say I’d value him anywhere near what Spotrac does as we head into free agency.
Give the principles we’ve seen Eric DeCosta display up to this point, I think he’d probably tend towards my assessment rather than the former. With an emphasis on pass rush and secondary, middle linebacker is a position that seems to be about as de-emphasized as it’s ever been for an organization that once prided itself on producing great ones.
In that sense, it feels like Onwuasor has either priced himself out of the team’s plans, or DeCosta probably just wasn’t planning on paying him to begin with. While it remains to be seen what he wants to do, if he’s not open to a relatively modest new contract, Peanut has probably played his last down as a Raven.
THE VERDICT: GO
PREDICTION: DECOSTA DOESN’T SEE THE UTILITY IN PAYING A SHAKY MIDDLE LINEBACKER, AND PEANUT MOVES ON TO TRY AND CATCH ON WITH ANOTHER TEAM
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