Evaluating Eric DeCosta, where is Steve Bisciotti and free-agent activity: Ravens mailbag, Part 1 - Jeff Zrebiec
Will the Ravens have the funds to make an outside free-agent purchase? And if so will they actually go out and do it? — Matt B.
They will have that ability, and I think they’ll sign at least one reasonably priced outside free agent, but as usual, I don’t foresee bidding on the very top guys. I’d keep your expectations in check. One, the Ravens simply don’t have enough cap room to be big spenders on several outside players this offseason. They can probably afford one big-ticket item. And two, they just don’t believe in using free agency as a primary means to stock their roster. I think you’ll see them follow last year’s playbook, when they paid a decent amount for Zeitler, gave a moderate one-year deal to Sammy Watkins, then focused on re-signing their own (Tyus Bowser, Derek Wolfe, etc.) and maintaining some cap space for late additions (Alejandro Villanueva, Justin Houston). I would think that’s what fans would expect by now. Even in the Thomas situation, they were in position to offer that deal only because they weren’t able to re-sign C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith.
The bulk of the Bengals team playing in Sunday’s Super Bowl was added in the past two years, but some starters remain from the team that played in the Tank Bowl: Joe Mixon, Sam Hubbard, Jessie Bates III, and Tyler Boyd, among others. If you’d told me that the team screaming in the locker room after one of the grimmest games I’ve ever seen would be in the Super Bowl in two seasons, I’d assume something special was going to happen. Well, it did. The team hit on Burrow, hit on Chase a year later, and pulled in one of the best free-agent hauls in recent years, this after using free agency sparingly in previous offseasons.
One thing about the modern NFL is that the Rams’ all-in model is going to eventually become the rule, not the exception, for contending teams. The Chiefs trade first-round picks for veterans to augment their roster. The Rams need to start scouting college freshmen because that’s the next time they’ll have a first-round pick. The barrier for entry into the sport’s elite is higher than ever, and the Bengals need to be near perfect to make this sustainable.
NFL free agency rankings for 2022: Davante Adams, J.C. Jackson and Orlando Brown Jr. headline our top 75 players - Sheil Kapadia
When he’s on the field, Hicks has been a consistently disruptive interior defensive lineman who can make plays against the run and provide pass rush. But he has two things working against him. One, he’s 32 years old. And two, he’s missed 20 games over the past three seasons due to injury. A contending team will likely still find Hicks attractive, given his production when healthy.
It’s unclear whether he’ll want to keep playing. Campbell is no longer the pass rusher he was in his prime. He finished last season with 1.5 sacks and 12 QB hits in 15 games. But he can still be disruptive against the run and has the reputation of being an all-time locker room guy. The Ravens could look to bring Campbell back on a one-year deal, or he could see if another contending team might be interested.
Ranking the top interior defenders in the 2022 NFL Draft - Seth Galina
Wyatt looks like a prototypical NFL three-technique at 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds, and he has the ability to kick down even further inside to play nose tackle. He still has room to grow from a technical standpoint, but he’s shown glimpses of a great get-off and nice hand usage to root opposing guards on their spot and then blow past them.
The ranking between Davis and Wyatt will really be in the eye of the beholder. Wyatt is closer to what we think of as an impact three-technique in the NFL, but Davis is just different. For such a big man — he’s 6-foot-6, 340 pounds — his first step is as good as anyone at the position. Georgia was big on stunting its interior defensive players, and it only achieved success in those calls often because Davis could move quickly off the ball. He uses his strength extremely well to hold up offensive linemen in the running game and then make the tackle in his “secondary gap.”
Ranking every Super Bowl, 55-1: Bucs-Chiefs considered a ‘good’ blowout as we rank every big game ever played - Will Brinson
52. Super Bowl XXXV
The Giants had the tables turned on them after demolishing the Vikings41-0 in the NFC Championship game, getting completely snuffed out by the Ravens in the title game. I always think about the alleged $20,000 preseason bet Phil Mickelson put on the Ravens to win it all when I think of this game.
15. Super Bowl XLVII
Baltimore Ravens 34, San Francisco 49ers 31
An oddly thrilling game in the Superdome featuring a terrifying power outage, two brothers coaching against one another (the Harbaughs) and a compelling comeback by the 49ers that fell just short when Colin Kaepernick couldn’t hit Michael Crabtree on a late fourth down.