NFL Salary Cap: Three-year analysis for all 32 NFL teams - Brad Spielberger
BALTIMORE RAVENS — RANK: 8TH
One of the biggest remaining questions of the offseason may be what happens with quarterback Lamar Jackson‘s potential extension, but Baltimore is a well-run franchise that navigates contract negotiations calmly and rationally.
The Ravens no longer need to also pay top dollar to retain tackle Orlando Brown Jr., who is driving a hard bargain with the Kansas City Chiefs following a solid season transitioning full-time from right tackle over to the blindside. With Brown currently subject to the franchise tag, the two sides have until July 15 to iron out a multi-year extension. Baltimore made a similar move sending wide receiver Marquise Brown and a third-round pick to the Cardinals for a first-round pick, avoiding a hefty payday and adding more cheap talent.
In back-to-back drafts, the Ravens had multiple first-round picks after trading away players looking for big-money extensions. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman, edge defender Odafe Oweh, safety Kyle Hamilton and center Tyler Linderbaum could represent a new, young nucleus on both sides of the ball over the next four years, and all four will earn roughly $53.5 million combined over the span. Brown probably looking to earn that much alone by 2024.
Ranking NFL’s top 10 tight ends of 2022: Travis Kelce headlines group of proven veterans, up-and-comers - Jordan Dajani
3. Mark Andrews
You could make the argument that Andrews deserves to be No. 1 on this list if we were just going off of last season. Despite not having Lamar Jackson for about a fourth of the year, Andrews had an incredible campaign. He set career highs in receptions and receiving yards and came one touchdown away from tying his career high of 10. Overall, Andrews led all tight ends in receptions and yards, and was tied for most touchdowns. His first-team All-Pro selection was well deserved.
Andrews setting the Ravens’ franchise record for most receiving yards in a single season last year is basically why the team isn’t worried about its rather green wide receiving corps.
WR: Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
Compared to the reasoning for including Dobbins, this pick requires a bit more of a leap of faith in projection but a similar line of thinking because of the Ravens’ poor injury luck last season. As a rookie, Bateman played only seven games with starting quarterback Lamar Jackson. In 12 total contests, he caught 46 passes for 515 yards and one touchdown on 68 targets.
The Ravens will always be a run-first team with Jackson at quarterback, but Bateman’s play while Jackson was on the field offers reason for optimism, especially as the two develop more consistency and chemistry with one another.
With 33-inch arms, Bateman provides a bigger target than the recently traded Marquise Brown. That should help Jackson on his throws over the middle, an area he likes to attack. Bateman is also a much better route runner than Brown, with an ability to operate from the slot and on the outside — versatility that meshes nicely with tight end Mark Andrews.
Despite injuries and with a backup quarterback behind center, there were flashes of positive play from Bateman that make it easy to understand why he was a first-round pick (No. 27 overall). And there should be plenty more of these moments in 2022:
Devin Duvernay Wants to Earn Starting Role - Clifton Brown
“Yes, kind of,” Duvernay said. “I just want to keep gaining these coaches’ trust, and as long as they trust me, believe in me, I feel like I’ll have no problem. So, I just come out in practice and just do what I can do and have fun with it and show them that I’m a very capable wide receiver and can help this team win.”
Entering his third season, Duvernay made the Pro Bowl as a returner in 2021 and improved as a receiver with 33 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Now two veteran wide receivers who were with Baltimore in 2021 are gone – Brown and Sammy Watkins, who signed with the Packers as a free agent.
That leaves the door open for Duvernay, Bateman, James Proche II, Tylan Wallace and other receivers to earn more snaps and targets, especially if Baltimore elects not to add a veteran wide receiver. The Ravens didn’t draft a wideout after trading Brown, which Duvernay took as a sign of faith.
“I feel like they kind of believe in the guys that they have,” Duvernay said. “They drafted us for a reason. I feel like they feel strongly about us. Every day on this practice field we just try to prove them right in their decisions.”
Ravens Projected Starting Lineup Post-Minicamps Edition - Todd Karpovich
OLB Tyus Bowser
Analysis: Bowser tore his Achilles tendon in the regular-season finale against the Steelers. He played in all 17 games for Baltimore and was one of the top defenders on the team. Bowser led the Ravens with seven sacks and had career highs with 59 tackles and 15 quarterback hits. The Ravens are optimistic he’ll be ready for the 2022 opener.
OLB Odafe Oweh
Analysis: Oweh is a solid athlete that consistently creates matchup problems because of his size — 6-foot-5, 251 pounds — and speed. He had off-season shoulder surgery and dealt with a foot injury but that didn’t dampen his performance and he was second on the team with five sacks. Oweh, who also underwent offseason shoulder surgery, was named to the Pro Football Writers Association All-Rookie team.
ILB Patrick Queen
Analysis: Queen had some early struggled but played better when he moved to the weakside. He led the team with 97 tackles and finished with two sacks and one forced fumble.
ILB Josh Bynes
Analysis: Last year, Bynes played in 14 games, including 12 starts, and had 76 tackles (third-most on the team), a career-high six tackles for a loss, two sacks, and four quarterback hits for the NFL’s No. 1 rushing defense (84.5 ypg).