With the Ravens’ season now officially over following yesterday’s Week 18 loss to the Steelers, the focus quickly moves to the upcoming offseason.
It’s no secret the Ravens dealt with a substantial amount of injuries during the 2021 season. Because of this, they were forced to call up practice squad players and give them gameday snaps more than they usually would. This gave the Ravens an extended look at a handful of guys who may have been somewhat of a unknown commodity prior to this year.
According to Russell Street Report’s Brian McFarland, the Ravens have 18 practice squad players eligible to be re-signed to a 2022 contract —
The Ravens have 18 players on their PS who are eligible to be re-signed to a 2022 contract as of now. Given that many of these players are minimum salary guys, they will likely re-sign a good number of them over the next day or so. pic.twitter.com/tWxAJVu608— Brian McFarland (@RavensSalaryCap) January 10, 2022
From this list, there are some intriguing players who may have flashed enough this season to earn themselves a contract for 2022.
On the defensive side of the ball, defensive tackles Isaiah Mack and Kahlil McKenzie should have a good chance of being re-signed. McKenzie appeared in five games between Week 3 and Week 16, playing a total of 41 snaps. While all of his snaps were on defense, he does possess some versatility to play offensive guard, as well. Mack only appeared in two games but had a strong showing in Week 16, racking up a sack and QB hit in 25 snaps.
The defensive line is an area of uncertainty for the Ravens heading into the offseason. Calais Campbell will be compilating retirement and Brandon Williams is an unrestricted free agent. Derek Wolfe missed the entirety of the 2021 season, too, and there’s some question marks regarding his status after a bit of a mysterious injury situation.
Given the need at the position, the Ravens could definitely look to keep McKenzie and/or Mack in-house. Both players are 25 years old.
A few intriguing offensive skill position players include running back Nate McCrary and wide receivers Jaylon Moore and Benjimin Victor. McCrary is the only one from this group that played any regular season snaps, but he only played two of them in Week 13 against the Steelers.
Still, McCrary, Moore and Victor were training camp and preseason standouts. The Ravens would probably like to have another look of at least a couple of these guys for another offseason. The team is in a pretty good place at wide receiver, but you can never have too many guys competing at that position.
McCrary might be a good bet to be re-signed given the question marks at the running back. The return timeline for J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill is unclear as of now, and there’s probably not a great chance the team looks to re-sign veterans Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman. As such, McCrary could be a cheap insurance policy at the position and some decent upside.
Tony Poljan is another name to keep an eye on. The Ravens always love to have multiple bodies in the tight end room during the offseason, and the The 6-foot-7 Poljan possesses some intriguing upside as a blocker. He played 10 total snaps against the Bengals in Week 16.
Offensive tackle will also be a position of great need this Spring/Summer, so the Ravens could look to keep someone Jaryd Jones-Smith around — if nothing else just to have an additional body under contract at the position.
No position group was more decimated by injuries in-season this past year than cornerback. After losing Marcus Peters before Week 1, Jimmy Smith missed a handful of games, Tavon Young was nicked up at times, Marlon Humphrey suffered a season-ending injury in Week 13 and Anthony Averett missed the final two games of the year.
Down the stretch, the Ravens were giving snaps to a number of practice squad call-ups at cornerback, including Robert Jackson and Daryl Worley. Jackson made five straight appearances between Week 13-17 primarily as a special teams contributor. He played 38 defensive snaps against the Packers and five the next game against the Bengals.
Worley made one appearance when he was thrust into a big role in that same Week 16 matchup in Cincinnati. Unfortunately, much like Jackson against Green Bay, Worley was overmatched against the Bengals’ talented wideouts and struggled quite a bit.
Jordan Richards is another player who could easily be re-signed. He’s pretty well-versed in the organization at this point and has shown to be a valuable special teams contributor.