There are many NFL free agents this year, especially with the projected league cap being lower than originally expected. This also makes free agency that much more interesting because teams don’t have as much money.
Players that have been waiting to hit the open market may have to settle for shorter, cheaper deals until the league cap increases again.
I took some time to compile a list of the NFL free agents that I think fit the Ravens. None of these players are unrealistic either. I left those off the list. Also, keep in mind not all of these players will be signed with our limited cap space. I am sure we will use the draft for some of the voids.
Note: these NFL free agents are in no particular order.
#1. Marvin Jones
While I am very happy that we brought Keith Williams and Tee Martin onto our coaching staff to help our receivers and pass game, the Ravens wide receivers still need a solid upgrade. Marvin Jones could be that upgrade. He is coming off two seasons in a row where he scored 9 touchdowns. And this past season, he nearly reached 1,000 yards. Marvin Jones filled in quite nicely when Kenny Golladay was injured.
Though Spotrac has Marvin Jones valued at $10.5 million per year, I could see the Ravens getting him for a little bit less than this. This move fits the Ravens. We have been known to sign solid receivers in their 30’s to add that reliability to the passing game (Derrick Mason, Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith Sr).
#2. Rick Wagner
We know that Orlando Brown Jr. wants to play left tackle. All we can expect to get if he leaves next season is a 3rd round comp pick. Why not trade him now if we can get more draft stock? If we do trade Orlando Brown Jr, we need to bring someone in to fill that void. Why not bring back Rick Wagner? He had a PFF grade of 77 last season. He was cut by the Packers and is getting older, so he won’t break the bank. But I guarantee you he will do a good job on the right side of our offensive line.
#3. A.J. Green
I am not 100% sold on this being the greatest signing. A.J. Green is not getting any younger, but we did sign Steve Smith Sr. at 35. A.J. Green is coming off a couple of years that were marked by some health issues. Yet he still had some decent numbers. Just 3 years ago, he had 1000+ yards. It is possible that A.J. Green can come in and be a very reliable target for Lamar Jackson. We know that A.J. Green can catch. He put up very similar numbers to Steve Smith Sr. I would prefer someone just a tad younger like Marvin Jones, but I am definitely open to A.J. Green for the right price to adding some reliability to the passing game.
#4. Alex Mack
The reason behind this signing is simple: we had too many bad snaps in the playoffs. There was too much change at the center person. We need a reliable, veteran center, while we coach up a younger guy. Alex Mack may or may not retire. I think he has a solid year or two left. Also, he probably would prefer to go out winning a Super Bowl. He already lost one with the Falcons.
#5. Kyle Van Noy
This really all depends on how the Dolphin’s situation plays out. It was reported that they were releasing him. Now, other reports are saying they may be trying to trade him. He is a versatile player. Van Noy would fit the Raven’s defensive system perfectly because he can pass rush, cover, and stop the run. It all depends on how much he costs, though. If they release him, then maybe we can get him for a cheaper deal. But I wouldn’t want to absorb his $13.9 million cap number for 2021.
#6. Kyle Rudolph
Kyle Rudolph is getting older, yes, but he is still a solid receiving tight end. The Ravens should sign him before free agency even starts if the price is right. We have Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle. Andrews is obviously the top receiving tight end on our team. But Rudolph could fill the void left by Hayden Hurst leaving. He put up nearly identical numbers as Hurst did in 2019. He may not be explosive like Hurst, but he is 6’6″ and would provide Jackson with a reliable big-bodied target. Rudolph has had a few Pro Bowls and is also a reliable blocker. This signing makes a lot of sense and also wouldn’t affect the compensatory pick formula.
#7. Duron Harmon
Among the NFL free agents in 2021, there are some solid possible safeties that the Ravens could bring on. I also like Malik Hooker. Though, Hooker does have some injury concerns. Either one would provide the Ravens with more depth at safety. Chuck Clark and Deshon Elliot are good safeties, but they aren’t the best coverage safeties. Harmon could come in and provide that. At 30, he should come a bit cheaper than other safeties. It is also possible that we fill this void in the draft. Or if Tavon Young can stay healthy in the slot, Jimmy Smith could move over to act as a coverage safety as needed.
#8. Markus Golden
As you can see, Jason La Canfora thinks this may be worth a thought as well. Markus Golden could potentially come in and get back to his past numbers in a solid Ravens system. He could also be much cheaper than other edge rushers. He had a bad season in 2020. Golden played for two different teams and both times the contracts were around $3-4 million.
Update: Markus Golden signed with the Cardinals on a 2-year deal.
#9. Rashard Higgins
The Browns may try and re-sign Higgins. But because of the fact that they already have Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham Jr., I don’t see it happening. I think Higgins has a lot of potential. He has a good build at 6’1″. Last season he had 37 receptions for 599 yards and 4 touchdowns. I think he could come in and be the reliable, physical target that Baltimore needs. And he is only 26 years old. Spotrac estimates him to be worth around $6 million a year. He wouldn’t break the bank either.
10. Gerald Everett
Look, the Ravens went 14-2 in 2019. We had 3 solid tight ends that year with Mark Andrews, Hayden Hurst, and Nick Boyle. Adding another one wouldn’t be the worst idea. It would only improve the passing game, but at a lower price than a top wide receiver. Everett could probably be signed for around $5-6 million a year. He is a solid receiver. I honestly think he is kind of underrated.
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