Considering the organization’s mystifying approach at wide receiver this past offseason, there was probably something fitting about the 2022 campaign coming to a close with a Hail Mary on which James Proche had a chance to make a play. Let’s hope we’re not talking about wide receiver again next year.
Speaking of first-round picks, Odafe Oweh played his best football in January and even flashed rushing the passer from interior spots. It was a disappointing campaign for Oweh, but you hope a healthy offseason — he was recovering from shoulder surgery last year — aids in the preparation for a pivotal 2023.
“I hope that he’s going to be back,” said Ravens Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews, summing up the public sentiment in the locker room Monday. “That’s my guy. I have nothing but love and respect for No. 8 as a person, as a player and as a friend. I love the guy. I hope he’s back.”
Either way, unless there is significant compromise on both sides, it’s hard to imagine the Ravens and Jackson reaching a deal by March 7, the final day of the 15-day window to apply the franchise tag to a pending free agent. It’s also inconceivable that the Ravens would risk losing Jackson for nothing, creating a sense of inevitability for the tag.
But that in itself spurs questions. Would the Ravens use the exclusive tag, which would prevent Jackson from negotiating with other teams but carries a hefty projected price tag of $45 million? Or would DeCosta opt for the non-exclusive tag, which would cost about $32.5 million but allow Jackson to sign an offer sheet with another team? The Ravens then would have an opportunity to match the offer sheet or decline it and acquire two first-round picks from the signing team.
There’s also the matter of how Jackson would react to the tag and whether he’d threaten to stay away from the team, making it awfully tough to prepare for the 2023 season without the starting quarterback on the field.
Ben Powers Prepares to Become Free Agent - Clifton Brown
Ben Powers picked a good time to have his best season.
Baltimore’s starting left guard is set to become a free agent in March, and his fourth season with the Ravens was his best. He started every game for the first time in his career, and he was a member of one of the NFL’s best offensive lines.
While Powers doesn’t know what to expect during free agency, he has not ruled out re-signing with Baltimore.
“I’ve had nothing but great experiences in my last four years in Baltimore, but with that being said, I do not know what the future holds,” Powers said.
Stanley and Powers have become close friends playing side-by-side, and Stanley admires Powers’ toughness.
“He’s a great guy. He’s just a road-hog,” Stanley said. “He’s a physical guy, he gives his all every game. He’s just a gritty, gritty person. Those are types of guys you need, especially on the interior line. He’s grown so much this year, played every single game. I don’t know what the future holds for him. I really hope that they can work something out where he can come back. But wherever he goes, I know he’s going to be a benefit to whatever team he’s on.”
The Ravens dominated Sunday night’s game in almost every statistical category. Performed poorly in the red zone and lost the game. Is this a coaching issue? Is it time to start planning for life after Lamar? Is it time to start planning for life after Harbaugh?
— Carl Wright
I have already written about Lamar. I actually think it’s time to gut this offensive system and use one that requires more balance. The Ravens have had a strong running game for years but they aren’t productive throwing down the field. If they fall behind, they struggle to win and we’ve seen that consistently through the years, including Sunday against the Bengals. It’s a quarterback-driven league and signals-callers earn their greatness in the postseason. I think this offensive system is good enough to win 10 or 11 games a year because the NFL is so mediocre, but this system is counterproductive in the playoffs when most teams have a quick-strike offense led by big-armed quarterbacks.
Exercise the option? Yes.
The addition of Pro Bowl linebacker Roquan Smith in 2022 seemed to free up the reliable Queen to make more plays. After the acquisition of Smith at the trade deadline, Queen added 1.5 sacks and a pick to his total, giving him a career high in both categories (five and two, respectively). Having not missed a game in three seasons, Queen should be part of Baltimore’s great defensive core — alongside the newly extended Smith — moving forward.
One defensive free agent each NFL team should pursue in the 2023 offseason - Brad Spielberger
Marcus Peters is a pending free agent, so it remains to be seen if he’ll be back in 2023; therefore, we went with a different free-agent cornerback here. With interior defender Calais Campbell and edge defender Justin Houston’s futures in the balance as well, adding more beef up front could make sense, but based on both of their comments after a wildcard round loss, it sounds like they want to be back in Baltimore in 2023.
Jones’ versatility as a cornerback who can play outside — as evidenced by a strong 2022 season — and in the slot makes him a good fit for a creative Ravens defense that does a lot of mixing and matching on the backend. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey and safety Kyle Hamilton will also rotate into the slot based on matchups, and Jones could allow them to continue to move defensive backs all over the formation.
Jones played a career-high 914 snaps in 2022 — his first season playing primarily outside — and did see his performance tail off a bit down the stretch, but he still earned very respectable 68.1 overall and 67.9 coverage grades. Jones is also a good run defender and tackler, earning 75.0-plus run-defense grades in back-to-back seasons.