If I were to describe the Ravens entering the regular season, I’d use two words: talented and angry.
It’s no secret that after another stellar offseason headed by Eric DeCosta, the Ravens have a top-five roster in the NFL. With free agent and rookie additions including but not limited to Calais Campbell, Derek Wolfe, Patrick Queen, and J.K. Dobbins, the Ravens have the most talented roster in franchise history. The Ravens will also have a plethora of returning starters as few players departed via free agency and trade.
The Ravens are also pissed off. After falling short of a 2019 Super Bowl run with the hard-nosed Tennessee Titans beating them rather handily in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, the Ravens want to prove that they aren't merely regular season pretenders. The team enters this season focused and determined with full tunnel vision to the Super Bowl.
The unfortunate reality that comes with having a talented roster full of such youth is the necessity to pay those players. Players such as Ronnie Stanley, Matt Judon, Marlon Humphrey, Mark Andrews, Orlando Brown Jr., and Lamar Jackson are essential to the team’s success and will all be demanding large paydays when their respective contracts expire.
More likely than not, the Ravens won't be able to extend all of those core players. For example, should Judon have a career year (since the addition of Campbell will allow for more one-on-one opportunities for Judon), he will earn himself hefty contract offers from many other teams. With many other players in the list above needed to be paid, expect the Ravens to be apprehensive on paying players that could be replaced.
Also, after seeing Patrick Mahomes’ contract extension, Jackson could see something similar if he continues his annual stardom. Should Jackson receive a massive extension, the front office may be more reluctant to extend other players in anticipation of Jackson’s contract.
In my opinion, I wouldn't consider this season Super Bowl or bust solely because of the fact that Jackson is under contract for two more seasons after 2020. As long as Jackson is healthy, the team will always have a solid chance at Super Bowl contention. That being said, there is no better year than 2020 for the Ravens to make a Super Bowl run. With the addition of Campbell and the return of Judon, their pass-rush looks the best in years. Stanley, a top-five player at his position, will further perfect his skills as a pass-protector and run-blocker as he enters his contract year.
There’s no guarantee that Stanley and Judon return as Ravens next year, which is why right now is the best opportunity the Ravens will have for a championship season.
For the first time in a long time, the Ravens have very few weak spots on their roster. Should Dez Bryant, who is scheduled to workout for the Ravens, receive and sign a contract offer, the previous statement would be even more genuine.