Filling needs and getting good value, the Ravens’ selective aggressiveness in free agency has paid off - Jeff Zrebiec
The Ravens aren’t anti free agency. They are anti relying on it to build the crux of their roster. They are anti getting in bidding wars with teams with unlimited cap space. They are anti paying top-shelf prices for middle-tier players.
The Ravens don’t traditionally sign a lot of free agents. In fact, they are near the bottom of the league in recent years in the number of outside free agents that they have signed. However, they’ve always shown a willingness to make a selective foray or two into the open market when there are needs to be filled and perceived good value to be had.
There are still plenty of needs. The Ravens have to get at least one more starting-caliber cornerback. They need to remake their defensive line. They could use another inside linebacker and tight end and additional depth on the offensive line. You can never have enough weapons for your quarterback.
Salary-cap space is certainly a hurdle, but the Ravens can’t afford to be bashful and conservative as they continue to try and improve their roster, not in an AFC that figures to leave little margin for error. The Ravens need to keep up and in some cases, close ground.
2022 NFL free agency: Biggest moves (and non-moves) so far - Marc Sessler
Reliable Ravens snag a real prize: I’ll echo my thoughts from Tuesday’s Around the NFL Podcast: The signing of safety Marcus Williams (for five years at $70 million) will go down as the league’s top free-agency add. The Ravens are among the game’s best at importing productive veterans who mesh into the system and become key figures in a hurry. Williams was a heady contributor inside a stellar Saints defense and now joins a loaded secondary headlined by Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Peters and Chuck Clark.
“When the ball is in the air, I think it’s mine every time,” Williams said.
Williams had 15 interceptions in his five seasons in New Orleans. That’s already strong and consistent production, but Williams feels he’s still very much ascending at just 25 years old.
“I feel like I can kind of intimidate quarterbacks. He knows if he throws it up in the air, with my range it’s pretty much gone,” Williams said. “I’d rather be a little more targeted so I could get more interceptions.”
“He’s a player we long coveted dating back to the draft process,” DeCosta said. “He fits us. Over the years, I’ve referenced guys like Rod Woodson, Ed Reed, guys that can make game-changing plays at the right time. We’ve seen the impact those types of guys can have on the NFL.
“There’s not a lot of type of these guys. … Typically, there are a lot of good safeties that will help you. But to have a guy on the back end that has the type of vision, instincts, eyes and ball skills, those guys are few and far between.”
In signing free agent Morgan Moses to a three-year, $15 million deal, the Ravens acquired what they sorely lacked last season: a starting-level tackle who was as reliable as he was durable. Moses, 31, has not missed a game over his past seven seasons with the Washington Commanders and New York Jets, and has started all but one game in that span. Since becoming a full-time starter in 2015, he’s appeared in at least 90% of his team’s offensive snaps each season.
“He’s available all the time for you,” Ravens offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris said Thursday at Moses’ introductory news conference. “He started seven consecutive years without missing a game — that’s huge as an offensive lineman. ... So he’s keeping the offense on the field [and] producing. So we’re excited to have Moses. He’s going to fill a void for us in that right tackle position, so that’s awesome.”
Veteran pass rusher Za’Darius Smith is not going to reunite with the Baltimore Ravens. Smith had agreed to terms Wednesday on a four-year, $35 million contract but hadn’t officially signed the deal. Then Thursday, he ultimately decided to remain a free agent, according to league sources.
The blockbuster deals signed by pass rushers Von Miller (six years, $120 million) with the Buffalo Bills and Chandler Jones (three years, $51 million) with the Las Vegas Raiders are believed to be an influence on this situation.
Smith is expected to have a strong market for his services.
The Ravens and Pierce agreed to terms on a three-year contract Thursday, bringing him back to the team he played with for four seasons (2016-19). The deal is worth $16.5 million according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Pierce made the Ravens’ roster as an undrafted rookie out of Samford in 2016 and developed into one of their most dependable run-stoppers. He played at least 14 games for four straight seasons and had 151 tackles, 3.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hits in his first tenure with Baltimore before signing with the Minnesota Vikings as a free agent.
2022 NFL Three-Round Mock Draft: Carolina Panthers select QB Malik Willis, QB Sam Howell falls to the New York Giants in Round 2 - Michael Renner
The Ravens defensive line has been decimated in recent years without much talent stepping up to replenish it. Davis can fix that overnight. He’s deadly on the stunts and slants this defense loves.
2022 NFL Three-Round Mock Draft: New QB cracks first round; Giants, Jets and Lions each have five picks - Ryan Wilson
Round 1 - Pick 14
LSU • JR • 6’0” / 195 LBS
Stingley didn’t work out at the combine as he recovers from a foot injury, and he only played three games in ‘21, but it’s hard to forget just how dominant he was in ‘19 as a freshman, where he spent practices going up against Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Terrace Marshall and Racey McMath. He’s a ball hawk, not to mention an asset in the return game, and he’ll only last this long because hasn’t played a lot of football in the last 12 months. He shouldn’t last this long, but if he does the Ravens won’t wait around.
45. Baltimore: Bernard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
76. Baltimore: Sam Williams, EDGE, Ole Miss
99*. Baltimore: Jamaree Salyer, OL, Georgia