Best-case, worst-case scenarios for all 32 NFL teams - Anthony Treash
Best-case: They get a true WR1
Worst-case: Instead of grabbing a receiver, Baltimore breaks the bank on edge rushers
Baltimore doesn’t have a lot to work with this free agency period. They have $17.7 million in cap space — a lot more than most teams — but no impactful cut candidates and a lot of impending free agents, which include Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee, Willie Snead IV, Dez Bryant, Derek Wolfe and D.J. Fluker. Based on that list alone, it’s quite clear that Baltimore will have to do something at the edge position this offseason.
However, they shouldn’t use what cap space they have for the pass rush. They must use that to get a true WR1.
The Ravens’ wide receiver group was among the five lowest-graded units in the NFL in 2020. Baltimore needs an “X” receiver who imposes a threat to defenses. Corey Davis might be the best option, considering the money Baltimore has at its disposal. Davis was the 11th-highest-graded wide receiver in the league this past year; he generated the fifth-best contested catch rate (64.7%) and ranked in the 85th percentile in grade against single coverage.
With this in mind, let’s go ahead and project for Brown’s cost to come somewhere in the middle — a first-round pick and an additional mid-round selection.
Would the Jaguars be able to make this kind of investment in Brown considering he will also be entering a contract year? The short answer is yes. In fact, the Jaguars are one of the only teams in the NFL who have both the draft capital (11 picks in 2021, five picks in top-65) and cap flexibility (projected to have over $77 million in cap room) to make an aggressive push for Brown.
If it comes down to if Brown is worth the draft’s 25th pick, it isn’t a tough decision to make. Brown is a better offensive tackle than any prospect the Jaguars would be able to get at that selection; he already has multiple years of high-level play for playoff offenses under his belt. Despite him having less than a full season at left tackle, he at least has done it more often at the NFL level than every tackle prospect in the draft.
LA Chargers’ potential trade partners for Mike Williams: 1. Baltimore Ravens
Brown is a candidate to be traded this offseason and the Chargers should be one of the first teams calling for his services. In return, the Chargers could help the Ravens out with a need of their own.
The Ravens need a better receiving corps and Williams would give them a vertical threat who can make contested catches, something the team currently does not have. Baltimore could then rework his contract and extend Williams.
It would take more than Williams and personally, I think Brown’s value would warrant Williams, the team’s 2021 second-round pick and a third or fourth-round pick next draft. Would that be worth it? Probably.
2. DE Calais Campbell
2021 Week 1 age: 35
2021 cap number: $15 million
Synopsis: Though the veteran was named to his sixth Pro Bowl in his first season with Baltimore, Campbell missed four games after having not missed a contest since 2014 and registered only four sacks, his lowest total since his rookie year. The 6-foot-8, 300-pound defensive lineman is still playing at a high level, but taking pause over the combination of his age and salary is understandable in the final year of his contract.
4. CB Marcus Peters
2021 Week 1 age: 28
2021 cap number: $13.486 million
Synopsis: Peters ranks in the top 10 in average annual value among NFL cornerbacks, which seems more than appropriate for the man leading the league in interceptions in 2015. DeCosta could attempt to lower Peters’ cap number by extending his contract beyond the 2022 season, but his $11.468 million salary for 2021 is guaranteed, meaning the three-time Pro Bowl cornerback shouldn’t even be in the discussion for potential cap casualties this offseason.
March 17: Free agency and the shrinking cap
NFL Network reported that the salary cap is expected to be in the neighborhood of $185 million, which would not be a devastating blow to NFL teams given that the NFL and NFLPA had already agreed to a cap floor at $175 million. That said, it could still cast a long shadow over free agency, where a handful of teams are expected to be major players and could score some deals. A thought: This is not dissimilar to a few free agency periods we’ve seen when players knew they needed to merely survive the upcoming season and play well in order to hit the market the next year when the cap ceiling could rise and normal spending habits might resume. To me, this benefits heavy-hitting teams already in contention, plus emerging teams like the Jets (if they land Watson), Jacksonville (if they draft Lawrence) and the Patriots.
The Biggest Story Lines of the 2021 NFL Offseason - Danny Heifetz
A 17-Game Schedule
The fact that the NFL was able to put on its 16-game schedule in 2020 was remarkable—but it may have been the last one ever. The NFL will expand the season to 17 games this year, a move made possible by the new CBA. The NFL won’t formally announce it until they negotiate new media rights deals with their broadcasting partners, but it’s happening. Subsequently, the preseason is expected to be cut down to either two or three games. Football may be over for us now, but the NFL will be force-feeding us even more next season.