50 Words or Less - John Eisenberg
In terms of helping the Ravens win immediately, Villanueva is a better option than any tackle they could have added via the draft. His age (32) means the Ravens will need to find a younger answer soon, but his track record foretells a solid 2021. No apprenticeship necessary.
With veteran guard Kevin Zeitler starting next to Villanueva, the right side of the Ravens’ O-line suddenly is airtight after experiencing its share of upheaval in 2020. But the Ravens have paid for that peace of mind, reportedly investing a combined five contract years worth $36 million in the two.
Interesting that the Ravens immediately signed Villanueva as soon as it didn’t cost them a compensatory draft pick, but didn’t immediately do the same with a veteran edge defender. They still have time and options, but not much room at the position after drafting Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes.
NFL execs unfiltered on 32 NFL Draft classes: Justin Fields better than Zach Wilson? Did the Eagles miss an opportunity? - Mike Sando
“You hope another downfield weapon opens it up more so Lamar (Jackson) can run better,” an exec said. “His legs become his short passing game, whereas a Mac Jones throws short passes with accuracy and efficiency but can’t scramble much. In Baltimore, when those receivers come out of their breaks, they’d better be ready to block. I also think they are trying to get a guy who has some run after the catch.”
“To get a first-round pick for Orlando Brown was perfect for Baltimore,” an exec said. “I don’t think a lot of teams were beating down the door to trade for Orlando partly because he was a specific fit for Baltimore and their blocking scheme, which is pretty simple.”
Ravens Sleeper Draft Pick: Cornerback Shaun Wade - Todd Karpovich
“I’ve had a chip on my shoulder since the 2020 season ended, and the things that I’ve been through,” Wade said. “I’m always going to have a chip on my shoulder regardless. I know what I can do. They know I have first-round talent and I know I have first-round talent. Right now it’s just putting it on the field and showing it every day. I had a lot of things going on, family situations, injuries, surgeries, turf toe, knee problems, people dying.
“At the end of the day, it’s called adversity. That’s something I’ve been through. Everybody’s got a different story. All you have to do is keep on living, and keep on having fun, do God’s will at the end of the day. I can’t wait to be around those guys – Marcus Peters, Marlon Humphrey. I can’t wait to learn from them. I know the Ravens have a great secondary for sure.”
“It doesn’t matter what position I play,” Wade said. “At the end of the day, if I have to play inside, I’ll play inside. If they may need me at corner, they need me at corner. If they need me at safety, they need me at safety. I still have versatility and I still can do everything. My No. 1 thing is [to] be healthy, and when I’m healthy, you get the best Shaun Wade.”
Tylan Wallace Has Something to Prove After Sliding in Draft - Clifton Brown
“I think a big thing for me is my ball skills – whether it’s locating the football, high pointing it, running through it – and also, my physicality,” Wallace said. “I think that’s one thing that separates me in this draft class, for sure.”
“Going into it, I thought I’d go a lot earlier, but obviously, everything happens for a reason,” Wallace said. [extra space]”I’m just happy that I got picked by Baltimore.”
There should be some terrific battles on the Ravens’ practice field between wide receivers and defensive backs. By drafting Rashod Bateman in the first round, Baltimore has added two targets who believe the ball belongs to them once it leaves Lamar Jackson’s hands. Wallace spoke on draft weekend about how much he is looking forward to playing with Jackson.
“It’s still crazy to me, it’s still surreal to me that I’m going to be actually catching passes from him,” Wallace said. “He’s an inspiration to all the guys, especially young guys like me. So, being able to go up there and being able to just hang out with him, build that chemistry with him, I can’t wait for it.”
Agent’s Take: 2021 NFL rookie contract projections for key Round 1 picks, plus a rookie wage scale explainer - Joel Corry
How the rookie wage scale operates
The rookie wage scale is essentially a salary cap within the overall salary cap. The increases in rookie salaries from one draft class to another are primarily tied to growth of the salary cap. Signing bonuses are going up one percent this year although the salary cap decreased $15.7 million.
There’s a league-wide limit on the total amount of compensation for rookies with specific salary parameters for each draft slot. Teams have maximum and minimum amounts that can be spent on their picks based on draft position.
The new CBA changed how fifth year options operate. The fifth year salary is fully guaranteed when the option is exercised. A player’s fourth year base salary becomes fully guaranteed when the option year is picked up if it wasn’t already.
The fifth year salaries are no longer strictly tied to where a player was drafted (i.e.; top 10 or outside of top 10). Performance dictates the option year salaries. With two or more Pro Bowl selections on the original ballot during the first three seasons of contracts, the fifth year salary is the franchise tender, which is average of the five highest salaries, for a player’s position in the fourth year of his contract.