The sounds of numbers being crunched can be heard for miles as the Ravens prepare to enter into the crazy world of free agency.
Looking through the list of Baltimore’s Restricted Free Agents I can not help but ask myself who should stay and who should go?
Obviously most of the questions will be answered by how quarterback Joe Flacco’s contract plays out. His agent Joe Linta is scheduled to meet with Ravens top brass this week at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. Joe will be a Raven. I have no worries that he won’t be in the purple and black next season.
According to the NFL in order to keep a restricted free agent the Ravens have to apply an offer sheet valued at a certain draft pick. Another team could then try to sign the restricted free agent by giving the Ravens the corresponding draft pick and offering the player a contract the Ravens can’t match.
Baltimore has six pending restricted free agents – tight end Dennis Pitta, tight end Ed Dickson, offensive lineman Ramon Harewood, long snapper Morgan Cox, defensive lineman Arthur Jones and wide receiver David Reed. Of those six, in my opinion the Ravens should keep at least three of them perhaps even four and here is why:
Dennis Pitta- Proven to be one of quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite targets and a dependable receiver. The tight end hauled in 10 touchdowns (regular season/post) and is a huge threat in the middle of the field. There is no doubt that Pitta will have an high offer sheet – perhaps a first-round – to keep another team from snatching him up.
Arthur Jones- The former Syracuse player had a decent season and his best thus far for the Ravens. He started six games this season and registered 4.5 sacks and 47 tackles. Jones played the run well and had two key plays for the Ravens this postseason.
Morgan Cox- Deemed as part of the Ravens special teams “Wolf Pack” by kicker Justin Tucker, Cox has been a solid contributor to the team. The former Ed Block Courage Award winner has been with the team the last three seasons and has a solid relationship with Tucker and Koch. In a game where outcomes can be decided on the legs of kickers it is important to keep the “Wolf Pack” intact.
Now for the easy part. Who should go:
David Reed- Reed started the season on the physically unable to perform list and it wasn’t until week 13 that he returned to the lineup. While Reed showed glimpse’s of what he is capable of in the Ravens return game Baltimore has Jacoby Jones thus making Reed’s space on the roster expendable.
Ramon Harewood- The offensive lineman started the first the first five games for the Ravens this past season. He was soon to be replaced by Bobbie Williams and Jah Reid and played in just six games. The Ravens offensive line found their magic after Jah Reid was injured and adjustments were made. Bryant McKinnie was inserted into the starting line up at left tackle, Oher shifted to right tackle, Osemele slid to left guard and Yanda held down the right guard position.
What list would not be complete with out a player on the bubble.
Ed Dickson- Dickson’s production was limited this season when the former Oregon Duck caught just 21 passes for 225 yards and no touchdowns. Dickson still remains a huge part of the Ravens’ blocking game for Flacco an area where Pitta needs work on. Dickson did have two key catches for them in the Super Bowl and with Billy Bajema being a free agent this season, the Ravens may want to try and hold onto Dickson.