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Ravens News 7/6: Quicker Tempo and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Training Camp Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It isn’t just Lamar Jackson. Ravens have a number of contract decisions to make on key players - Jeff Zrebiec

Brandon Williams, DL

Age: 32

Why they may extend him: Williams has been a core piece for the Ravens for a long time and when he’s been out, the team’s run defense has mostly struggled. The Ravens really don’t have a proven young interior run stuffer on their roster who could step in for Williams if he departs and the team’s decision-makers have always prioritized stopping the run. If Williams is intent on playing his entire career in Baltimore, he might be willing to compromise on terms of a short-term deal.

Why they may not: Entering his ninth NFL campaign, Williams is 32 years old and he’s missed games in three of the past four seasons, so it would be understandable if the Ravens had concerns about his durability. Williams doesn’t offer much as a pass rusher and the Ravens could find a veteran run stuffer at a cheaper rate. The Ravens are not afraid to part with a longstanding veteran if they think his play is declining.

What it may cost: He took a pay cut this year and his base salary is $6 million. Williams might have to accept less than that.

How it may play out: The Ravens not extending Williams this offseason to reduce his cap number — and instead going the pay-cut route — could be telling to the team’s thought process. Baltimore will probably re-evaluate Williams’ status after the season and Williams could have a decision of his own to make. If Williams is willing to return at a reduced rate, there is probably a deal to be made. But it wouldn’t be surprising if this is his final season in Baltimore.

Ravens Nose Tackle Brandon Williams Not on the ‘Chopping Block’ - Todd Karpovich

Williams agreed to revised contract this offseason with $6 million in fully guaranteed money and a $4.5 million signing bonus. He has $12.92 million cap hit in 2021 and all of that is dead money, which means team wouldn’t save any funds if they released him.

Baltimore could save $1.5 million by trading Williams but it could be difficult to find a suitor. He is 32 years old and entering his ninth seaon.

Williams will likely play out his final season in Baltimore but from there the future is uncertain.

“Right now, all I’m worried about is year nine,” Williams said. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there. But right now, we have a bad taste to get out of our mouths, and we plan on doing that starting today.”

2 underrated sleepers on the Ravens roster heading into 2021 NFL season - Nile McNair

Sammy Watkins

For the past three years Watkins has had a small role in a Kansas City Chiefs offense that had an array of weapons. But now in Baltimore, Watkins could play himself into a bigger role.

When healthy Watkins has proven that he can be a number one wide receiver, and obtain a 1,000 yard season. This is a feat that none of the young receivers in Baltimore have accomplished.

Another thing Watkins brings to the Ravens offense is the ability to come out in 11 personnel.Which includes one running back, one tight end and three receivers. To put names to these positions, it would be J.K Dobbins, Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, first round pick Reshod Bateman and Watkins.

This would be the best player personnel quarterback Lamar Jackson has been surrounded by since become the starter for the Ravens. So, if Watkins can remain healthy he is a sleeper on the Ravens roster that can unlock an element to their offense.

Twelve Ravens thoughts during dead period in NFL offseason - Luke Jones

Pass rush concerns have lingered for years, but it hasn’t contributed to the playoff exits. You need a more effective four-man rush against Kansas City, but Baltimore has also scored under 30 points in those defeats. I still believe in a strong secondary and scheming pressure before overpaying edge defenders.

Improving the passing game has been discussed all offseason and Greg Roman has indicated Jackson could work more from under center, but the Ravens ranked 30th in situation-neutral pace last year, according to Football Outsiders. If you’re pondering further offensive evolution, playing with quicker tempo is a logical starting point.