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What’s the Plan?

Street Talk What’s the Plan?

Posted in Street Talk
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The Ravens have systematically added some building blocks to get ready for the 2021 season.

While the fanbase has grown impatient about not signing a marquee unrestricted free agent, general manager Eric DeCosta has a strategy and he’s not going to deviate from the plan.

The players are apparently on board with the direction of the team. 

 

Marcus Peters, Calais Campbell and Brandon Williams have renegotiated their massive contracts to give DeCosta more salary-cap space to add playmakers.

As it stands, the Ravens have $17,850,950 in salary-cap space, according to Russell Street Report’s Brian McFarland.

Much of the focus this offseason has been adding a playmaking wide receiver, but the market grew thin quickly. Some of the top names are off the board:

  • Kenny Golladay reached a four-year, $72 million deal with the New York Giants, according to multiple reports.
  • Former Houston Texans receiver Will Fuller reached a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins with a base salary of $990,000 and incentives up to $3 million.
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars reached a two-year, $14.5 million deal with Marvin Jones Jr.
  • A.J. Green agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals, worth up to $8.5 million.
  • Baltimore contacted JuJu Smith-Schuster, who turned down its $9.5 million offer to stay in Pittsburgh for $8 million.

The Ravens hosted Sammy Watkins this week, but he has other suitors, including the Colts and Titans. His injury history might preclude DeCosta from offering him a huge deal. 

[Related: How Would Watkins fit in Baltimore? – Q&A with a Chiefs Blogger]

As a result, the Ravens could look to add a playmaking wide receiver in this year’s draft, which is loaded with talent. It also fits into their long-term strategy of developing their own players, but that has been a challenge at that position. 

The Ravens also need to add an effective edge rusher, but that appears to be less of a priority in the free-agent market because the team has not aggressively pursued any of those players. The top remaining unsigned players include Jadeveon Clowney and  Melvin Ingram III. The Ravens let Matt Judon (Patriots) and Yannick Ngakoue (Raiders) sign with other teams, so that’s definitely a position the team is discussing behind closed doors. 

DeCosta has made a slew of moves this offseason. 

The team signed guard Kevin Zeitler, who was released by the Giants, and acquired tight end Josh Oliver via a trade with Jacksonville. The Ravens also re-signed several of their own players, consisting of Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser, Chris Board, Justin Ellis and Derek Wolfe

DeCosta has always preached patience and the Ravens will be building their roster throughout the offseason. Thanks to Peters, Campbell and Williams, the team now has some more money to spend.  

DeCosta will use those extra funds wisely. Perhaps he’ll begin negotiating contract extensions for quarterback Lamar Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews

The only certainty is the 2021 Ravens are a work in progress. 

That’s simply how the team conducts business. 

More exciting days are still ahead. 

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About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich
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