The 2022 offseason well underway and the new league year is upon us. With an increased salary cap of $208.2 million for the 2022 season, the Baltimore Ravens will have more monetary resources to fortify their roster ahead of the draft next month.
The unrestricted free agent market will feature several quality to elite players at several of their top positions of need, as well as some that are under the radar but vital nonetheless. In the first article of a this six-part series, I’ll be breaking down free agent candidates that the Ravens can explore at center.
Ryan Jensen, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
A reunion with the Pro Bowler they drafted, developed, and couldn’t afford to keep four years ago makes perfect sense. He would not only seamlessly replace Bradley Bozeman in the starting line up but he would provide an upgrade at the position over the solid three-year starter. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Ravens are reportedly interested in bringing him back to where his career began.
Since leaving Baltimore, the nine-year veteran has blossomed into one of the best centers in the league, won a Super Bowl title, and spent the last two years keeping the most iconic player in league history upright. Jensen brought a nasty edge to the Ravens’ offensive line during his time with the team that they have sorely missed since he left in 2018 and future Hall of Fame guard Marshal Yanda retired following the 2019 season.
Brian Allen, Los Angeles Rams
If the Ravens don’t reunite with one former Super Bowl center in Jensen, perhaps poaching one away from the most recent world champions would suffice and likely be cheaper than re-signing their own pending free agent at the position in Bozeman.
Allen got his first crack at being a full-time starter in 2019 during his second season and started the first nine games of the year before a catastrophic knee injury landed him injured reserve and caused him to miss not only the remainder of the season, but all of 2020 as well. He appeared in and started in 16 of the Rams’ 17 regular games and all four playoff contests including the Super Bowl. He’d bring experience and championship pedigree for an average annual salary of roughly $5.4 million according to spotrac.com.
Ben Jones, Tennessee Titans
While he doesn’t have the title of Super Bowl champion on his resume like the aforementioned players listed above, Jones does have nearly 10 years of starting experience under his belt. Like Allen, the 32-year-old veteran won’t command top dollar on the open market and averaged just $6.75 million a year on his last contract with the Titans. He’d join Kevin Zeitler as another strong veteran presence and stabilizing force on the interior of the Ravens’ offensive line.
Bradley Bozeman, Baltimore Ravens
All signs have been pointing to an inevitable split since rumors of the two sides being far apart in contract talks surfaced during the 2021 season. There was also the ominous ‘goodbye’ vibes that he gave off during his final press conference, along with social media post he and his wife have published since the season ended. However, if Bozeman tests the market and doesn’t find the compensation he’s looking for or decides that making marginally more elsewhere for a lesser team isn’t worth uprooting then a case for retention would make sense for both parties.
He has been a full-time starter for the last three years on the interior of the Ravens offensive line, appearing and starting 16 games in each year over that span. 2021 was his first time playing his natural position of center at the NFL level and played at an above-average level for the majority of the year.