Ravens Offseason Needs NFL 2022: Free Agency And Draft Preview
The Ravens could be in a really tight spot this offseason. They could be losing a lot of their defense to free agency and they fired Don ”Wink” Martindale (Why? I don’t know). Their defense could be decimated after this year if they are not careful. It would be easy if they could just re-sign everyone right? Wrong. They only have $26 million in cap space. So they won’t be able to retain every one of their expiring contracts, nor will they be able to make big splashes in free agency. Let’s see how we can keep them contending by addressing the Ravens offseason needs.
First, the Ravens can’t and shouldn’t retain Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Sammy Watkins, Jimmy Smith, or Justin Houston. These guys are too old to bring back. Plus, Campbell and Williams are about $25 million together. If you add Watkins to the equation, it’s $30 million. The Ravens have to get younger and cheaper. Their defense will be completely different next year, might as well use this opportunity to get younger and cheaper. In fact, they now have Mike Macdonald as the new DC, which gives him a chance to build a defense for the scheme that he wants to run.
Ravens Free Agency
The idea for the Ravens is to make smart, team-friendly deals, and still try to fill holes on their roster. A tall task to do for them. Offensively, they probably won’t be able to do this on the OL to help out Lamar Jackson. However, given Lamar’s ability to run, OL might not have to be addressed in free agency. Nor do they have the money to get the top-tier talent, they’ll have to save their money in that aspect. They might be able to find some cheap WR options, given the amount of WR2 and WR3s in this free agency. The smartest deal they could do is get anyone for cheap. Better the talent for cheap, the better. The Ravens will have to do something about their defense. There is plenty of talent in free agency for EDGE and the secondary. They might not get the best talent available for these positions, but since it’s deep enough, they’ll get solid talent for cheap. Especially if free agents believe that the Ravens can still compete in the playoffs with Lamar Jackson. The Ravens will have to spend most of their $26 million at these 3 positions (WR, DE, DB). Cheap, but having depth for the Ravens is their best course of action.
In the draft is where the Ravens have to address their other needs like OL and DT. In the 1st round, they will have decisions to make at 14. Between these two positions, they are hoping one of these players drop to them: Jordan Davis, Devonte Wyatt, or DeMarvin Leal for DT, or one of the premier tackles like Nicholas Petit-Frere, Charles Cross, or Trevor Penning. (Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu should be off the board already). Seeing how the DT pool is much more scarce and given Lamar Jackson’s ability to run, I would say that DT would be a better pick here. I think DeMarvin Leal might be the first DT off the board so let’s say Jordan Davis or Devonte Wyatt is the pick here.
In the later 2nd round, they have a lot of options as the talent should be about the same for OT, OG, WR, LB, and CB. Being that there wasn’t a lot of talent to choose from with their limited funds in free agency at OL and LB, I say they should pick someone here from those two. I like Zion Johnson here for the Ravens with 2 guards possibly lost in free agency. If he’s available of course, the next two guards in Lecitus Smith and Ed Ingram would be solid selections too. In the 3rd round, the Ravens should just look in the deepest area in this year’s draft: WR. There’s solid talent, and while I personally don’t think Lamar Jackson is a good QB as much as he is a great football player, having talent in your WR corps can mask that. It’s hard to predict who will be available down this far, but I would say the best possible WR available in the 3rd round.
The Ravens’ reign of terror (if you could say that) in the AFC North might be over. The Ravens’ defense decimated, bad QB, new DC are all problems for the Ravens. With Lamar Jackson’s deficiencies being put into the light year by year, this might be the year it all goes to shit. It depends on how they handle this offseason. It’s not all gloomy though, JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards will come back to help Lamar Jackson. But their defense really kept them in a lot of games and that is partially due to Don “Wink” Martindale. Losing him and their defensive depth this year. Lamar Jackson might really be exposed. However, on the flip side, if the new DC works out, retain some but not all of their defense, draft well, they might have another shot at this thing. That’s a lot of ducks to put in a row, but crazier things have happened. The plan for the Ravens offseason needs is there, how well do they execute it?