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Ravens News 2/5: Chasing the Chiefs and more

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Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Salary cap, vaccinations among NFL’s big questions for 2021 - Tom Pelissero

Salary cap

The NFL and NFLPA began preliminary negotiations last month on the 2021 salary cap. Some team officials believe (and surely hope) the cap will ultimately land closer to $185 million per club — if not a little higher — than the $175 million minimum the sides agreed to last summer as they braced for empty and mostly empty stadiums.

The league didn’t provide clubs with its annual cap projection at the delayed labor seminar Tuesday, nor has it committed to exactly how to spread the impact of an unprecedented multibillion-dollar revenue shortfall in 2020 over the next few years. (Each year’s cap is based on revenue projections for the following season, as well as a “true-up” from the prior year projection. Had the sides not agreed to the $175 million floor for 2021 as part of an overall package on COVID-related economic matters, spreading this year’s shortfall into future years, the cap would have plummeted much further from this season’s $198.2 million per club.)

Brady, Mahomes Set High Bar for QBs, Have Been Dominant Against Ravens - Todd Karpovich

Brady has gone 6-2 against the Ravens over his career, throwing for 2,177 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions, However, Brady is just 2-2 against Baltimore in the postseason. He threw for 1,080 yards with six touchdowns and eight interceptions in those four playoff games.

Mahomes and the Chiefs have beaten the Ravens in each of the past three seasons. Mahomes has been completely dominant in each of those games, throwing for 1,136 yards with nine touchdowns and just one interception (116.2 rating).

“We haven’t beaten them. They’ve beaten us the last three times we played them,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said about the Chiefs. “You kind of look at it like … I think they’re a little ahead of us in the timeline. I don’t know. I don’t want to make this comparison, but [if you’re] a basketball fan, you look at the way it kind of went with … You had the [Boston] Celtics and the [Detroit] Pistons. Then, you had the Pistons and the [Chicago] Bulls.

“Then, you had everybody and the Bulls. They were kind of taking over; they did it twice. Some of the older guys, we know that. That’s a team … We’ve got to beat them, and we’ve got to find a way to beat them.”

Baltimore and Kansas City will play for a fourth consecutive time next season at M&T Bank Stadium.

Ravens position review: Wide receivers take small steps forward, but there’s still a big need - Jonas Shaffer

As general manager Eric DeCosta cautioned last week, this might not be the offseason the Ravens pursue a No. 1 wide receiver in free agency, or even in the NFL draft. Which means improving one of the NFL’s least productive wide receiver corps could be an in-house job.

Which of the Ravens’ young receivers will step up?

With two years left on his rookie contract, Boykin isn’t exactly running out of time to secure his NFL future. But the Ravens need more from the former Notre Dame star, who had three games this past season (postseason included) without a catch and another eight with just one reception. Jackson and Boykin still seem to lack chemistry, with some of Boykin’s best routes looked off. Getting them together for a normal offseason program should only help.

Considering Snead’s uncertain future in Baltimore, the Ravens might also have to find their next slot receiver. Duvernay has field-stretching speed and open-field elusiveness, but his best routes as a rookie were vertical. Proche, meanwhile, is a polished route runner who’s somewhat limited athletically. Importantly, both have good hands, an underrated ability considering Jackson’s tendency to throw over the middle.

PFF’s top safety prospect, plus a wild-card safety to watch - Michael Renner

WILD CARD: AR’DARIUS WASHINGTON, TCU

Washington’s weaknesses are fairly well defined and revolve almost entirely around his physical stature. You can count the number of NFL defensive backs his size on one hand. Taking on blocks, manning tight ends and contesting jump balls will all be concerns for him in the NFL. That being said, his size was rarely a factor in the college game, and he was as stingy as it gets in Gary Patterson’s split-safety-heavy TCU defense. This is the single most instinctual safety in the draft; he is also no slouch athletically and has some tremendous hips. If his size is a major concern for a team, he still has a quality slot-coverage skill set to fall back on.

NFL player comparison: Tyrann Mathieu

Biggest strength: Instincts

Biggest weakness: Size

Projection: Second-round pick

Bottom line: If Washington were 6-foot, 200 pounds, he’d be a top-10 pick. At worst, he’s a quality slot option in the league.

2021 NFL mock draft 1.0: Patriots, 49ers select QBs in Round 1 - Lance Zierlein

27. Baltimore Ravens

Trevon Moehrig · S

School: TCU | Year: Junior

Moehrig is a ball-hawking safety who would represent an immediate upgrade in the Ravens’ back end. He can play high, low or over the slot, which only increases his value.