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Ravens News 3/4: Free agent questions and more

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Divisional Round - Tennessee Titans v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Between combine and free agency, Baltimore Ravens must answer several non-Matthew Judon questions - Aaron Kasinitz

Which pending free agents might be worth re-signing?

Before the Ravens can set up meetings with free agents from other teams, they’ll think about keeping their own players. They have exclusive negotiating rights with in-house free agents until the legal tampering period begins March 16.

DeCosta said he expects cornerback Jimmy Smith to test the open market, but the Ravens might have the option of bringing back a few other defenders like defensive end Jihad Ward or special teams ace Anthony Levine.

The Ravens already re-signed offensive tackle Andre Smith and safety Jordan Richards to low-cost deals, so they could aim to lock in a few other players at a cheap price before free agency opens and roster movement intensifies.

Ravens Potential Free-Agent Target: Kyle Van Noy - Todd Karpovich

Pros: Van Noy, who turns 29 on March 26, has a solid motor and his price tag could be lower than other free-agent pass rushers, such as Jadeveon Clowney who is looking for a $20 million per season. Van Noy was a key player for the Patriots and finished with 15.5 sacks and 34 quarterback over the past three seasons. He’s also a versatile player that would fit perfectly into Don Martindale’s defensive schemes. He also has the type of attitude and work ethic that fits into the Ravens’ culture.

Ravens Already Have the Offensive Playmakers They Want - John Eisenberg

Wide receivers Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin and tight end Hayden Hurst all could produce at significantly higher levels if they take the developmental steps the Ravens envision. Running back Justice Hill also could contribute more.

The excitement level is highest for Brown, the team’s 2019 first-round draft pick, who caught 46 passes for 584 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie, showing considerable potential while dealing with the troublesome remnants of a Lisfranc foot injury.

Between his being healthier (he recently reportedly had screws removed from his foot), more experienced and stronger after an offseason under team control, Brown seemingly is poised to become a No. 1-caliber receiver. I’m hesitant to make projections, but the Ravens drafted him to be a difference-maker capable of thousand-yard seasons.

”Receivers typically make a big jump from their first to second season. We think that’s going to happen with Hollywood,” Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said at the NFL Scouting Combine last week.

Stock up, stock down for prospects after the NFL Scouting Combine - Anthony Treash

STOCK UP

S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota

After having to obtain medical redshirts in both 2017 and in 2018, Antoine Winfield Jr. still had to prove his athletic makeup was the same as it once was, even despite playing all of 2019 at a high level. Winfield posted the fourth-best 40 time among safeties (4.45), tied for seventh in the vertical (36-inch) and shined in drills. This after playing in all 13 games for the Golden Gophers in 2019 and being an absolute playmaker with great ball tracking.

On his 401 coverage snaps, Winfield was responsible for only 11 catches while picking off seven passes and breaking up another. On top of that, he forced a couple of fumbles. Winfield seemingly knew where the ball was going at all times. The instincts are clearly there, and the only real concerns lie within his physical makeup. His height isn’t quite what you’d want, but everything else is solid, as he showed in Indy.