Analyzing the Roster Before Free Agency Starts - Ryan Mink
Justin Houston – unrestricted free agent
Jason Pierre-Paul – unrestricted free agent
Steven Means – unrestricted free agent
Vince Biegel – unrestricted free agent
The Ravens have the veteran Bowser and a collection of young talent around him.
Houston led the team with a resurgent 9.5 sacks and plans to continue playing. He could take his time again to figure out where, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a return. The Ravens are always looking for more rushers, and will probably bring back or add a veteran and possibly supplement in the draft.
Damarion “Pepe” Williams
Marcus Peters – unrestricted free agent
Kyle Fuller – unrestricted free agent
Kevon Seymour – unrestricted free agent
Trayvon Mullen – unrestricted free agent
Humphrey is one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks, but the Ravens have a starting opening opposite him for now. The Ravens are keen to the idea of Peters returning in free agency if they can afford to do so. He didn’t have as many interceptions as usual last season as he rebounded from his 2021 knee injury. Still, Peters’ instincts, passion and knowledge of the game are second to none.
Baltimore could look to pick up a free agent cornerback and/or draft one from the “loaded” class – possibly in the first round.
2023 NFL free agency: Ranking most intriguing teams heading into start of new league year, from 1-32 - Jeff Kerr
Salary cap space: -$8,356,018
Draft picks in first 3 rounds: 2
The Ravens placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, allowing him to negotiate with any team come the start of the legal tampering period. The ongoing contract saga with Jackson will finally come to an end, as the Ravens can match an offer from any team and that will be Jackson’s contract — or they can pass and get two first-round picks in return.
How much is Jackson going to receive? Is Jackson worth what he thinks he is — or will the Ravens be right on what they think he’s worth? If Baltimore keeps Jackson, what wide receivers will they give him going forward?
Baltimore will either keep its franchise quarterback next week, or go back to the drawing board in preparing for life without Jackson.
Needs: QB, WR, DL
General manager Eric DeCosta and head coach John Harbaugh have opted to place the non-exclusive franchise tag on Lamar Jackson, leaving uncertainty about the quarterback’s future in Baltimore. An agreement on contract guarantees continue to stand in the way of a long-term deal, and now, under the non-exclusive designation, Jackson can freely negotiate with other teams. The market for Jackson will be the catalyst for whether DeCosta and Co. opt to bring back the 2019 Most Valuable Player or whether they inherit two first-round picks for his rights. The problem is only magnified by backup Tyler Huntley’s expiring contract and having only two picks in the top 100 of next month’s draft.
Finding stability at wide receiver is also a top priority. Last season, Ravens receivers aligned wide totaled just five receiving touchdowns and accumulated 1,807 air yards on targets, both bottom-five marks league-wide, per Next Gen Stats. On the defensive side of the ball, adding youth along the defensive front is of the utmost importance with veterans Justin Houston and Jason Pierre-Paul set to hit free agency, Calais Campbell as a possible trade/restructure candidate, and 30-year-old Michael Pierce limited to three games in 2022. No defensive lineman played more than 60 percent of defensive snaps last season.
2023 NFL Draft: Every top-10 cornerback’s highest-graded season - Gordon McGuinness
Big board rank: 16/CB3
Best PFF grade: 73.2, 2022
2022 Coverage grade: 77.4
2022 Run-defense grade: 53.2
Big board rank: 18/CB4
Best PFF grade: 72.0, 2022
2022 Coverage grade: 74.3
2022 Run-defense grade: 57.7
Big board rank: 38/CB6
Best PFF grade: 88.4, 2021
2021 Coverage grade: 89.7
2021 Run-defense grade: 82.4
Big board rank: 45/CB7
Best PFF grade: 76.7, 2022
2022 Coverage grade: 79.5
2022 Run-defense grade: 76.7
There are a couple of silver linings in this current Ravens mess. For five years now, they have generally been the best of the average teams in a league that continues to slip in quality. In fact, there are only eight good teams in the NFL, those who make it to the conference semifinals.
Despite having some housecleaning as far as offensive assistants this offseason, the Ravens have hired some quality coaches in Monken, Willie Taggart (running backs) and Greg Lewis (receivers). Combined with Monken, they should provide the Ravens with some new offensive concepts and wrinkles.
But those teams in that final eight are a step up in quality over the Ravens. They are disciplined, perform well in clock management and have several clutch performers. When you watch the Ravens, they have discipline but not the clock management or big-play capabilities.