What We’ve Learned This Week About Todd Monken - Ryan Mink
I expect that Jackson will have fewer designed quarterback runs moving forward, but the threat will always be present. Primarily, Monken should help maximize Jackson’s premier arm talent. As Watson said, any offensive coordinator must help develop their quarterback and Monken has a track record of doing so.
Watson doesn’t expect the Ravens’ run game to look too similar to how it did last year under Greg Roman, when every offensive lineman was a potential puller. Watson said Monken leans more on duo power scheme run concepts. “I still think the Ravens will be a run-first offense,” Watson said.
This hire is good news for Ben Cleveland, who will be a frontrunner for the starting left guard job if Ben Powers departs as expected in free agency. Cleveland was on Monken’s starting offensive line in 2020 at Georgia. Familiarity with Monken’s schemes gives Cleveland a leg up.
The Ravens’ tight ends and strong running game set Monken up for an offense that could maintain a familiar identity. But that doesn’t mean Baltimore won’t still look to make major advancements at wide receiver to give Monken and Jackson more weapons for the deep passing game.
10 crazy NFL offseason predictions: Aaron Rodgers returns to Packers; Jimmy Garoppolo replaces Tom Brady - Jordan Dajani
Lamar Jackson demands trade
Contract negotiations did not go too well last year, thanks to those dang Cleveland Browns, who gave Deshaun Watson a fully-guaranteed contract. ESPN reported that Jackson turned down a five-year extension worth over $250 million with $133 million guaranteed at signing before the start of the 2022 season.
That fully guaranteed contract is a huge obstacle to overcome in this situation, which will lead to tension between the two sides — who both want the same thing. My prediction is that Jackson will demand a trade after not getting that fully guaranteed deal. Armed with the franchise tag, the Ravens will use it. Per CBS Sports cap guru Joel Corry, the exclusive franchise designation will be most likely. Four of the last five times quarterbacks have been designated as franchise players, the exclusive tag has been used.
Now, the question will be does Jackson actually want out of Baltimore? I say no — and there’s no way the Ravens actually field offers for their star quarterback. Ultimately, Jackson will play on the tag, but the fan base will not have a fun offseason with their team dominating headlines.
2023 NFL Free Agent Rankings: Cornerback - Brad Spielberger
8. CB MARCUS PETERS, BALTIMORE RAVENS
Peters returned in 2022 from a torn ACL suffered in 2021, and after an understandably slow start to the season, he regained his form down the stretch in a Baltimore secondary that settled in as the year went along.
One of the league’s premier interception hawks at cornerback, Peters failed to record multiple picks for the first time in his career. The soon-to-be 30-year-old suffered a calf strain in December that sidelined him for the final three weeks of the regular season, but this was just his first season outside of 2021 where he didn’t log at least 900 snaps. A big playoff outing against the elite crop of Cincinnati Bengals pass-catchers could help build momentum for him heading into the offseason. Peters is likely looking at one-year offers in free agency to serve as a No. 2 cornerback with upside going forward.
Baltimore Ravens 2023 NFL Draft big board: Receiver, cornerback in focus at No. 22 - Jeff Zrebiec
Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee
Brugler’s rank: 22
The Ravens have lacked a bona fide deep threat for a long time. Enter Hyatt, who has elite speed and field-stretching ability. Hyatt had a breakout year in 2022, catching 67 passes for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns. He averaged just under 19 yards per reception. He’s not considered a strong route runner, but teams tend to overlook some flaws while prioritizing speed.
Quentin Johnston, TCU
Brugler’s rank: 25
Probably no player has been connected to the Ravens more in the various mock drafts than Johnston, who averaged 19 yards per reception in his three seasons at TCU. Johnston brings size (6-foot-4, 215 pounds), athleticism and playmaking ability. He has struggled at times with drops, but Brugler believes he has more upside than any receiver in the draft.
Joey Porter Jr., Penn State
Brugler’s rank: 11
There’s a strong chance that both Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez and Porter will be gone long before the Ravens are on the clock. If Porter does slip a little, he’d be a great fit. He’s the type of long (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) and physical corner they love. Plus, it would be some story if the son of a longtime Pittsburgh Steeler, Joey Porter, wound up in Baltimore.
Devon Witherspoon, Illinois
Brugler’s rank: 15
Witherspoon seems to always be around the football. In his final season at Illinois, he had 14 pass breakups and three interceptions. He plays with good instincts and discipline, and he’s a physical and willing tackler. At 6-foot, 183 pounds, Witherspoon doesn’t have ideal size, but he makes up for it with smarts and competitiveness.
HBCU Combine: 5 Players Who Could Raise 2023 NFL Draft Stock - Ryan Fowler
WR, Florida A&M
A high 4.3-runner, Smith can take the top off a defense. A Walter Payton Award semi-finalist this fall (FCS’ equivalent of the Heisman Trophy), he’s electric with the ball in his hands and his presence as a special teamer could provide a team with a nice amount of value. He caught 87 passes totaling 1,021 yards and 11 touchdowns this fall.
CB, Jackson State
The former No. 1 overall JUCO product, Warren had offers from a litany of Power 5 programs before joining the Tigers. A 6-foot-1 corner with premier athleticism, his best football remains down the road, a positive sign for teams looking for depth in their secondary.