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Ravens News 3/8: Smart FA spending and more

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Ravens Can Solve Their Issues at Center With Bradley Bozeman - Todd Karpovich

Baltimore could move Bradley Bozeman from left guard to center, a position where he made 31 career starts collegiately at Alabama.

“I would defer to the coaches on Bradley,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “Bradley has played center, but we’ll play who we think should play at that position. We do have some other guys that could play the position. We had a couple games this year that we didn’t snap the ball very well. Both of those games, incidentally, were games with really bad weather conditions – high wind [and] rain.”

The idea of moving Bozeman to center has certainly crossed the mind of coach John Harbaugh

“We have [Bozeman], who can play center,” Harbaugh said last offseason. “There’s just a lot of ways we can do it.”

“We have some guys that can play,” DeCosta said. “A lot of guys have played for us – a lot of young players are emerging talents. We’ll also have a chance, I think, with the Draft and free agency to augment those positions as well. So, Bradley is an important part of the mix. We have some other guys that can play that position as well. We’ll find the best five guys and the best backups behind them, and we’ll start up in September.”

Super Bowl Champions Use Free Agency Correctly - Warren Sharp

Bringing Front Office Aggressiveness onto the Field

Look at the ranking of pass aggressiveness* for the last four Super Bowl Champions:

2020 Buccaneers: #3

2019 Chiefs: #1

2018 Patriots: #10

2017 Eagles: #10

*early down pass rate in the first three quarters

These teams all knew the way to win games in the modern NFL is through the air, and they won a lot of games in the regular season by throwing early and often, and then they went undefeated in the playoffs by sticking with that same philosophy.

A Unique Opportunity in 2021... and a Prediction

Whether it’s free agency or trades or the NFL draft, NFL General Managers must be extremely aggressive, they just need to be smart about it. And when it comes to on-field decision making, NFL coaches must be extremely aggressive and smart.

We’ve showcased three thoughts here:

Overspending in free agency begets losing. GMs need to be active and aggressive in free agency, but smart about how they spend. Super Bowl Champions aren’t built through overspending in free agency or through massive draft capital, but through aggressive and smart roster construction.

Where does that put us in 2021? In an exciting place.

With a reduced cap, I predict we will see many well-known veteran players cut to save salary cap space. I believe there will be an influx of talented free agents in the marketplace, more than we’ve seen in years. And I think many of these free agents will be open to taking short-term, one-year deals. Not to “prove-it”, but to enable a return to free agency again in 2022 when the cap is likely much higher, allowing them to land bigger contracts.

If GMs play this right, I predict we will see the formation of more “super teams” this offseason than we’ve ever seen in the NFL.

The 2020 Buccaneers won the Super Bowl doing everything outlined here. They were aggressive but smart in free agency. They were aggressive but smart in the draft. They were aggressive but smart with trades. And they had one of the most aggressive passing attacks in the NFL.

50 Words or Less - John Eisenberg

Hearing draft pundits compliment the singular depth of this year’s class of wide receivers, I’m more and more convinced the Ravens will NOT take one at No. 27 overall. Sounds like they can address another need there and still get a receiver of comparable quality on Day 2.

I’m also more and more convinced the Ravens will not land any of this year’s top (so-called) free agent wide receivers. Most will probably end up being retained, anyway. My hunch is the Ravens would rather scour that market for signings that are more affordable but also bring better value.

Not sure I can say anything that would turn off the nonstop rumors connecting the Ravens to virtually every veteran tight end who becomes available. But they’ve already signed Eric Tomlinson, and Jacob Breeland and Eli Wolf are interesting, young prospects. The team may not do a thing.

Perfect free-agent matches for all 32 NFL teams: Why Jameis Winston fits with the Patriots and more team-player pairings - Seth Galina


2020 team: Titans | Age entering 2021 season: 26

It wouldn’t be the most glamorous signing, but the Ravens desperately need a true X receiver who can beat different kinds of coverage. Davis lined up as the outside receiver on over 75% of his snaps over his four seasons in Tennessee. And while he was slow out of the gate as a pro, his 2020 season was his best. His 85.3 grade ranked 10th among receivers, a big leap from the 51st-ranked 69.9 grade he earned in 2019.

The Ravens have had no success on the outside since Lamar Jackson took over as starting quarterback, with Marquise Brown‘s 71.2 grade when lined up outside barely moving the needle.

Four-round 2021 NFL mock draft 1.0: Saints trade up for QB in Round 1 - Chad Reuter

Pick 27

Baltimore Ravens

Teven Jenkins

Oklahoma State · OT · Senior (RS)

Orlando Brown has made his desire to play left tackle known, and Ronnie Stanley will regain that spot after returning from injury, which is why Brown has requested a trade. Jenkins is a powerful blocker with a nasty attitude who probably won’t mind blocking on the right side of the line as he did at Oklahoma State (though he also started on the blindside during his career in Stillwater).

Pick 58

Baltimore Ravens

Amon-Ra St. Brown

USC · WR · Junior

Pick 105

Baltimore Ravens

Elerson Smith

Northern Iowa · Edge · Senior (RS)

Pick 132

Baltimore Ravens

Trey Hill

Georgia · C · Junior