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3 Free Agent Options for the Ravens at Linebacker

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NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Green Bay Packers Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Inside linebacker continues to remain a need for the Baltimore Ravens. They have just lost two starters from last season in Patrick Onwuasor and Josh Bynes. Onwuasor signed with the New York Jets, and Bynes signed with the Cincinnati Bengals. It seems extremely likely that the front office will target a linebacker early in the NFL Draft. Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen are two players who could be available at 28th overall, and the front office has collected a stockpile of draft picks. Regardless of which players they end up drafting, it would be wise to add another veteran in free agency. Currently, their depth chart is extremely thin at the position. L.J. Fort played well last season and should continue to start, but he is the only proven option at this point. Chris Board played only 64 defensive snaps last season, and Otaro Alaka has not yet recorded a tackle.

At this stage of free agency, their options are limited, but here are three players worth considering.

Nigel Bradham

Bradham is easily the best player on this list. After starting 58 games for the Philadelphia Eagles, the franchise decided to release him to save $4.465 million in cap space. Last season, he recorded 61 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 fumble recovery in 12 games, and his PFF rating of 64.7 was 30th among linebackers. He is a smart player and wore the green dot for a few years in Philadelphia, including during their Super Bowl victory. He is a reliable veteran with a solid all-around game.

Reggie Ragland

Ragland was selected in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills. He missed his entire rookie season with a torn ACL and was then traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. In 2018, he started 15 games and had 86 tackles, which was second on the team. However, he saw a significant drop in playing time last season. In 2019, he played only 235 snaps.

Ragland has shown the ability to be productive, and he thrives against the run. He posted PFF run defense grades of 70.4 in 2019 and 84.7 in 2017. He is extremely weak in pass coverage, which is largely responsible for his drop in snaps, but he would immediately bolster the run defense and adds needed depth at a low cost.

Jake Ryan

Okay, hear me out. Jake Ryan was a good starter for the Green Bay Packers in 2017. He had 81 tackles and a PFF grade of 75.7. Sure, he did not have elite speed or athleticism, but he was effective.

He missed the 2018 season with a torn ACL, then he signed a two-year contract worth $6.5 million with the Jacksonville Jaguars last offseason. After scarcely seeing the field due to injuries, the Jaguars declined his option. Ryan's market value appears low, and he could be a minimum contract player. At that cost, why not bring him in and let him compete for a roster spot?