A Ravens Offseason Roundup
Seven players have left the Ravens this offseason, all agreeing to modest, 1-year deals with their new teams. Those players include:
• Anthony Averett (Raiders): $4M, $3.34M guaranteed
• Chris Board (Lions): $2M, $1M guaranteed
• Bradley Bozeman (Panthers): $2.8M, $1M guaranteed
• Justin Ellis (Giants): $1.273M, $337,500 guaranteed
• Eric Tomlinson (Broncos): $1.435M, $100,000 guaranteed
• Chris Westry (Panthers): $825,000
• Tavon Young (Bears): $1.365M, $650,000 guaranteed
These signings suggest that the market value for the aforementioned players was lukewarm at best. And it also raises questions about how the Ravens coaching staff viewed their importance to the club. The Ravens are extremely thin at corner yet they passed on Averett, Westry and Young. The team is also thin at inside linebacker. Losing Chris Board, a player that the coaching staff praised regularly, is mildly surprising – particularly when considering his special teams contributions and relatively modest paycheck.
Another positional group requiring significant attention is the offensive line yet the Ravens decided to pass on Bozeman despite the (Carolina) blue light special for a starting center. Word is that Bozeman and the Ravens were so far apart during early contract discussions that they shifted their attention towards locking up Patrick Mekari with a 3-year, $15.45M deal. Given the availability of J.C. Tretter who remains a free agent and the apparent buyer’s market for centers, it would appear that the Ravens are locked in on Mekari as their starting center, barring any substantive investment of draft capital on the position later this month.
Averett’s deal with Las Vegas may have been a tad rich for the Ravens given the return of Marcus Peters and the development of Brandon Stephens. But the bargain basement pricing for Westry and Young in light of the severe lack of depth at corner is telling, and the silent message is that the team didn’t think much of the way the pair played in 2021.
The Ravens did announce that they are bringing back Josh Bynes to the fold. Bynes was solid as a run defender but at this point in his career, the 32-year-old backer is a liability in coverage and as such, he’s no longer a three-down defender. But his presence beside Patrick Queen helped to elevate the former LSU Tiger’s performance during the second half of the season. The details on Bynes 1-year deal aren’t yet available but it isn’t expected to vary much, if at all, from the veteran minimum for the 11-year vet ($1.12M).
Free agent RB Melvin Gordon, the top player available at his position, is in discussions with the #Ravens on a potential deal, source said. The #Broncos starter is a person of interest in Baltimore, which still has a need at RB.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 8, 2022
Word of mutual interest between the Ravens and RB Melvin Gordon was at the very least, a mild surprise. The Ravens don’t want to find themselves in the same position as last year when they were forced to comb through the NFL’s scrap heap of aging tailbacks, eventually signing Devonta Freeman, Le’Veon Bell and Latavius Murray.
The team expects JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards to return along with Justice Hill who is under contract for 2022 at $965K. Most observers expect the Ravens to use one of their five 4th-round picks on a running back, a position that often translates well from college to the NFL even in rookie seasons. But history suggests that the Ravens bring along new RB’s slowly. So given the health uncertainties with Dobbins and Edwards, it comes as no surprise that the Ravens would be interested in a veteran ball carrier. But Gordon would seem to be a bit rich for the Ravens, given their other needs and limited cap resources.
GM Eric DeCosta is always looking for value regardless of position. But Gordon, given his probable role in the Ravens backfield and projected contract requirements, the alleged interest in Gordon seems like wishful thinking more than anything else.
Sometimes agents will use the media to help bump up interest in a client. I think this is one of those times and Rapoport was the mouthpiece this time around.
Welcome Back Calais!
Free-agent DE Calais Campbell, a six-time Pro-Bowl selection, is returning to Baltimore on a two-year deal, per source. The 35-year-old Campbell has spent the past two seasons in Baltimore and now is expected to finish his NFL career there.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 9, 2022
The #Ravens are signing back DE Calais Campbell on a 2-year deal for $12.5M that can get to $16.5M.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 9, 2022
The first-year cap number on Calais Campbell's 2-year, $12.5 million deal is $3.56 million. Ravens had roughly $7 million of cap space as of yesterday. After agreeing to terms with Bynes Friday and Campbell today, Ravens will need to start making some moves to free up cap space
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) April 9, 2022
Calais Campbell’s return to the nest is a good one for the Ravens. He’s an enthusiastic leader and still attracts double team assignments which helps to free up teammates. Moreover, the 2022 draft class is considered to be a bit thin at interior D-line. Campbell together with newly acquired Michael Pierce, the returning Derek Wolfe, the promising Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington who elevated his play in 2021, makes IDL a position of strength for defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald’s defense.
Yesss Sirrr pic.twitter.com/WoqZiGjdSs
— MC (@abukari) April 9, 2022