Potential Ravens Targets
First, I’d just like to note that this list is not a full list of every single 2017 free agent. It covers a few of the players that I think are the most interesting and could be potential targets for the Ravens.
During the end-of-season presser, John Harbaugh noted that the team’s focus will be on getting better at corner, pass-rusher, and helping Joe Flacco get back on track. I think that the only position the Ravens should not consider is kicker and punter. Too bad there isn’t a free agency period for coaches…ahh well.
A quick outline of things to remember…
- These are Unrestricted Free Agents. The list does not include RFA or ERFA players.
- I am not attempting to predict which players will remain with their current teams (although some have indicated that is their intention).
- This list does not include Ravens.
- This list does include a mix of affordable and potentially unaffordable players.
- This list is based on my own opinion of how I see the current team makeup and where it may make sense to go.
- I am well aware that the Ravens are typically not interested in “splash” signings.
- Yes, I know Alshon Jeffery is a pending free agent and NO I do not think the Bears are going to let him go.
Should the Ravens pursue a QB in free agency? Maybe. I’ve not been terribly impressed with Ryan Mallett when he has gotten onto the field. The Ravens aren’t going to find Joe’s replacement in free agency, but they could be on the hunt for someone that is younger that might be able to push Flacco a bit. It is just my own opinion, but Mallett isn’t all that intelligent and the jury is out on Flacco.
- Case Keenum – As a back up, the Ravens could do a lot worse.
- Matt Barkley – Barkley will garner some interest for teams looking at potential starting-caliber players. Barkley has shown flashes.
- Landry Jones – He’s not great, but he’d be a pretty good replacement for Mallett, plus stealing from division rivals is a good thing.
The Ravens are pretty set at RB (assuming they can re-sign Terrance West). Kenny Dixon and West as the starting duo is a good and steady backfield. However, if the Ravens feel so inclined…
- Danny Woodhead – He’s 31 years old and somewhat injury prone. Yet, he’s a pretty dynamic player that offers a lot as a 3rd down back and return specialist.
- Lance Dunbar – This is a guy who could intrigue the Ravens. He won’t be terribly expensive. He’s pretty young and he’s very different than both Dixon and West.
- Eddie Lacy – I doubt the Packers keep him. He can’t keep the weight off. Maybe going to another team will light a fire under him? If the Ravens weren’t satisfied with West or Dixon, Lacy might be an interesting choice.
- Christine Michael – He’s a bigger back with some serious wheels. Whenever he touches the ball he seems to run really hard and make big plays.
As weird as it is to say, I wouldn’t be upset if the Ravens let Kyle Juszczyk hit free agency. He’s already indicated that he expects to get a lot of good offers.
- Patrick DiMarco – If the Falcons let this guy go, well, then shame on them. He’s one of the better run-blocking backs in the NFL. Ravens should be all over him.
This is obviously the most debated position on the offensive side of the ball. Folks, we need to be honest about it. Ozzie Newsome and Eric DeCosta are very good at finding certain positions in the draft. Wide Receiver isn’t one of them. The Ravens absolutely SUCK at drafting and developing WR talent. It’s high time that we (as fans) come to grips with this. I still have hope that Breshad Perriman can get it together, but he dropped a ridiculous amount of easy passes this season and he looked pretty lost running routes. Assuming the Ravens keep Mike Wallace, these are some guys I think they should consider.
- Pierre Garcon – He’s turning 30, but he is that quintessential possession receiver Harbaugh alluded to during the presser. Garcon quietly topped 1,000 yards last season for the Redskins and has averaged a catch-rate of around 64% since 2012.
- Kenny Britt – After getting into a lot of trouble early in his career, Britt seems to have turned the corner. He’s only 28 and he would bring some size to the Ravens (6’3″ 225lbs). He is also coming off of a productive year with 1,002 yards and 5 touchdowns – this is impressive considering he was catching passes from Case Keenum and Jared Goff.
- Kendall Wright – This is the guy I am most hoping for. He’s not a big guy (5’10” 195lbs) and he isn’t a speedster (4.60 40-yard dash at his combine), but he runs excellent routes and he has the ability to turn short gains into long gains. Plus, Wright is only 27 and coming off a year where he really wasn’t used much at all. I think he’ll be very affordable on a multi-year deal and give a nice underneath presence with Wallace and Perriman on the outside.
- Terrelle Pryor Jr. – The thing that intrigues me the most about Pryor is that he’s coming off a season where he topped 1,000+ yards and it was his first season playing receiver (he was formerly a QB). What makes it REALLY impressive is that he did it while catching passes from RGIII, Josh McCown, Cody Kessler, Kevin Hogan, Paul Blake, Johnny Moxon, and Ronnie ‘Sunshine’ Bass. Pryor won’t be cheap, but I don’t think he’ll break the bank either. He’s just 27 and he would bring a lot of size (6’4″ 230lbs) and nice athleticism. He could legitimately be a #1 receiver in the NFL for the next several years. (And in an emergency, he can play QB!)
Honestly, this is an incredibly weak TE group. The Ravens should keep their own guys.
I think the Ravens have a good core group on the OL and hopefully they can keep Rick Wagner. The center position definitely needs an upgrade, but unfortunately this is looking like a fairly weak center group. Regardless, they absolutely must get better depth because James Hurst is not an NFL-caliber player and the fact that Vlad DuCasse beat out Ryan Jensen and John Urschel doesn’t look good for them.
- Matt Kalil – If the Vikings don’t keep him, the Ravens should consider him as a back up to Ronnie Stanley and Rick Wagner. Kalil has been a disappointment, but he’s still young and he’s got a fair number of starts under his belt at LT.
- Bradley Sowell – Sowell is a swing tackle that can also slide down to guard. He’ll be fairly inexpensive and he’s only 27.
- Luke Joeckel – Joeckel was a complete bust as a LT, but I still think there is value there. He’s still young and he could be a nice back up for pretty much every position except for center.
- Brian Schwenke – I would be surprised if the Titans let him go, but if they do, Schwenke may be someone to replace or at least compete against Jeremy Zuttah for the starting center gig. Schwenke is a good run blocker.
- Larry Warford – Warford is one of the better young guards in the NFL. He won’t be cheap, but he is an outstanding run-blocker. If the Ravens do let Wagner go, they have to consider alternative solutions and one could be signing someone like Warford and moving Alex Lewis out to RT.
- JC Tretter – He is a good center, but I cannot say for certain if he is leaps and bounds better than Jeremy Zuttah. However, Tretter could provide better depth than Ryan Jensen.
Clearly Harbaugh wants to upgrade the defensive front. Tim Jernigan started out hot, but totally cooled off by the end of the season. I can count one or two plays he made after October. He needs to step it up big time. Regarding Brandon Williams, I’d love to see him stay a Raven, but he is going to get big bucks on the open market and the Ravens are unlikely to try and match those numbers. It may be cold hearted, but Brandon Williams has averaged about 1 sack per year and the Ravens need to be able to generate pressure up the middle. Let some other team pay him top pass-rusher money. Ravens should take the likely 3rd round comp pick.
- Calais Campbell – Campbell is 30, but his versatility and experience is going to get him paid. I also think he has some good years left. He had 8 sacks and 20 QB hits in 2016 while playing several positions.
- Mario Addison – He’s 29, which isn’t ideal, and he may be scheme dependent. However, he had 10 sacks last year in limited action.
- Jabaal Sheard – I always liked Sheard. Even when he came out of University of Pittsburgh a few years ago, I was hoping he’d be a Raven. He’s only 27 and can get after the QB.
- Nick Fairley – He is 28 and had 7 sacks in 2016. I’d be surprised if the Saints didn’t re-sign him, but who knows with them? Fairley could provide some rotational ability on the DL because Tim Jernigan clearly can’t do it for a full season.
Matt Judon looks promising. Kamalei Correa showed absolutely nothing (Art Brown v2.o?), Elvis Dumervil should probably be cut to save money, and T-Sizzle is still a good player, but he’s old. The Ravens need to address pass-rusher in both free agency and the draft.
- Nick Perry – He will probably command top dollar, so I dont know if the Ravens would do it. However, you have to pay to play, right? Perry came alive last year in the playoffs and the momentum continued into this season racking up 11 sacks. Plus, Perry is only 26 years old. He’s the type of guy who may be worth spending a little extra on.
- Chandler Jones – I’m not sure if Arizona will let him go, but if they do, he should be a priority free agent for the Ravens. He’s only 26 and had 11 sacks last year. He is also well versed in a hybrid defense.
- Melvin Ingram – This is the guy that I would go after. He’s compact (6’2″ 260lbs), but he is incredibly quick. His first step is absolutely elite. I also think the Chargers won’t try to keep him. Ingram was the guy I wanted the Ravens to draft a few years ago…we ended up with Courtney Upshaw.
I’m hopeful that Zach Orr will be retained. I know he isn’t great in coverage, but he is a big reason why the Ravens did so well against the run. Orr was one of my favorite players this past year and I think he complements CJ Mosley nicely.
- Zach Brown – He filled in nicely as a starter in Buffalo and he racked up 147 tackles, an interception, 4 sacks, and 7 QB hits. Even if the Ravens do keep Orr, they should go after Brown for depth.
- Lawrence Timmons – He’s 30, but he’s been a solid linebacker for a long time. Again, always nice to steal from a division rival.
- AJ Klein – The Panthers may not be able to keep Klein. He’s 25 and has some good experience as a starter and on ST’s. Injuries are a concern with Klein.
This is the position the Ravens should upgrade the most and if they are going to spend, it should be here. The fact that the defense basically collapsed once Jimmy Smith got hurt is incredible. They need better depth here and they need insurance for when (not if) Jimmy gets hurt again. Tavon Young is going to be VERY good, but I still think we need options that allow him to move down to the slot in nickel and dime packages. After Jimmy, what else is there? Sheldon Price? Maurice Canady? Shareece Wright (vomit)? Jerraud Powers (meh)? The Ravens need at least 2 quality corners either from the draft, free agency, or both.
- Stephone Gilmore – He is going to be incredibly expensive, but if the Ravens are going to spend, they should spend on Gilmore. He’s only 26 and coming off a season with 48 tackles and 5 interceptions. Plus, you have to like his size/athleticism (6’1″ 200lbs).
- AJ Bouye – According to PFF, he was the top rated corner in the NFL this year. He may be a 1-year wonder though. Still, there is a lot to like about the 6′ 195-pound corner.
- Morris Claiborne – Claiborne was once a highly touted cornerback. I think he is much better in man coverage than zone and I don’t think he will be very expensive. He’s still young and I think the Ravens should consider taking a flier on him for depth purposes.
- Prince Amukamara – I wanted Amukamara last off-season. He only signed a 1-year deal with Jacksonville and now that they have their stud corner in Jalen Ramsey, I don’t see them breaking the bank to keep Amukamara. I love his size/speed combination and think he’d do great in Baltimore.
- Billy Cundi….just kidding…