Marcus Williams, signed from New Orleans to a deal with a $14 million APY, joins Earl Thomas (2019), Tony Jefferson (2017) and Eric Weddle (2016) among the higher-priced safeties Baltimore has signed in free agency since 2016. Weddle and Thomas earned Pro Bowl honors in each of their four seasons with Baltimore, although Thomas lasted just one season.
“They have gone down that safety road a bunch even though they are not a big free agency team,” an exec said. “They mostly need to get healthy, but they still have work to do on their defensive front. They are patient. Ozzie Newsome always said, ‘Right player, right price,’ and they do not deviate from that.”
Bigger picture, this free agency period was marked by Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti’s comments regarding a contract for quarterback Lamar Jackson, who remains without an extension entering the final year of his rookie deal. Bisciotti, in comments made to reporters at the league meetings last month, suggested the Ravens’ roster did not suffer after signing previous quarterback Joe Flacco to a market-setting deal. Bisciotti also dismissed concerns that Jackson’s frequent running could put him at additional risk for catastrophic injury.
On the first point, the Ravens admirably ranked No. 1 in combined expected points added (EPA) on defense and special teams from 2014-2018, when Flacco’s contract carried inflated charges against the cap, according to TruMedia. Bisciotti can point to this as evidence Baltimore did not suffer from paying Flacco (the offense ranked 19th in EPA during this span, down from 15th over the 2008-2013 seasons, when Flacco’s cap chargers were smaller).
On the second point, there is no evidence running quarterbacks suffer catastrophic injuries at elevated rates. The concern is that the extra pounding might take more of a cumulative toll, as the case seems to have been with Cam Newton. Also, if a quarterback remains dependent on rushing to maximize effectiveness, what happens later in the quarterback’s career, when his rushing ability wanes? Those are the actual concerns, more than catastrophic injury.
Ravens re-sign defensive end Calais Campbell to two-year deal - Ryan McFadden
The Ravens announced Saturday that they have re-signed veteran defensive end Calais Campbell to a two-year deal.
Campbell’s deal is worth $12.5 million but he can earn as much as $16.5 million with incentives, according to multiple reports.
Campbell, 35, recorded 49 tackles in 15 games last season. He had just 1 ½ sacks, but he still ranked among the NFL’s most double-teamed defensive linemen and helped anchor one of the league’s best run defenses.
Campbell’s deal comes a day after the Ravens re-signed veteran inside linebacker Josh Bynes to a one-year deal, addressing a pair of offseason needs.
With Campbell returning and free-agent defensive tackle Brandon Williams still unsigned, the Ravens’ defensive front currently consists of him, nose tackle Michael Pierce, defensive tackles Justin Madubuike and Derek Wolfe, outside linebackers Odafe Oweh and Tyus Bowser and inside linebackers Bynes and Patrick Queen. Wolfe, Bowser and Oweh are coming off injuries.
Reported Melvin Gordon Interest Isn’t Surprising - John Eisenberg
Hard to remember when there has been less certainty about what the Ravens will do in the first round, due to their having so many needs. Four of the latest mocks at NFL.com each has them drafting at a different position (OT, DT, EDGE, CB) and every scenario makes sense.
There’s also a fifth positional scenario that makes sense and could easily unfold. The Ravens could solidify their defense by taking Devin Lloyd, an inside linebacker from Utah, at No. 14 overall. Lloyd and Patrick Queen would forge a strong, young middle to build around. I wouldn’t complain.
Geno Stone’s re-signing seemingly fills out the Ravens’ depth chart at safety with Brandon Stephens, Tony Jefferson, Ar’Darius Washington and Stone behind starters Marcus Williams and Chuck Clark. But the lack of cornerback depth could mean the versatile Stephens switches to that position, where he played in college.
Wondering if the Ravens’ fixation on draft value could lead them to David Ojabo, the Michigan pass rusher who tore an Achilles at his Pro Day. He likely will drop out of the first round, but if you can wait out his recovery, you’ve added first-round talent at a discount.
Ravens Will Have to Pounce on Edge Rushers Early in Draft - Todd Karpovich
“I think that … Unfortunately, one of the top guys and really an outstanding prospect, Ojabo suffered an injury, which was unfortunate for us, unfortunate for the league and certainly most unfortunate for him,” DeCosta said. “With that being said, he suffered an Achilles. He should be back, and he should be ready to go. He’s a tremendous talent. You all saw what he did at Michigan this year opposite Hutchinson.
Some of the player they Ravens might be able to grab in the later rounds include:
— Cameron Thomas, San Diego State (SR, 6’ 4”, 267 pounds)
— Nik Bonitto, Oklahoma (rJR, 6’ 3”, 248 pounds)
— Myjai Sanders, Cincinnati (SR, 6’ 5”, 228 pounds)
— Dominique Robinson, Miami (OH) (SR, 6’ 5”, 253 pounds)
— Josh Paschal, Kentucky (rSR, 6’ 3”, 268 pounds)
— Alex Wright, UAB (JR, 6’ 5”, 271 pounds)
— Sam Williams, Mississippi (SR, 6’ 4”, 261 pounds)
— DeAngelo Malone, Western Kentucky (SR, 6’ 3”, 243 pounds)
— Jesse Luketa, Penn State (SR, 6’ 2”, 261 pounds)
— Amaré Barno, Virginia Tech (SR, 6’ 5”, 246 pounds)
Iowa · C · Junior (RS
PROJECTED TRADE WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Baltimore needs a new center after letting Bradley Bozeman walk, and Linderbaum’s a much better value here than at No. 14. The team hit a home run with Iowa lineman Marshal Yanda years ago, so picking up this Hawkeye seems like a natural fit.
Clemson · CB · Junior
PROJECTED TRADE WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Booth’s a top-20 talent who is still available because of injuries. The Ravens simply need more bodies at cornerback, so they take a shot on his athleticism and nasty attitude outside.
Alabama · LB · Junior
Texas A&M · DT · Junior
South Alabama · WR · Senior (RS)
Miami (Ohio) · Edge · Senior
Idaho · DT · Junior (RS)
North Carolina · OT · Senior (RS)
Cincinnati · RB · Junior (RS)