I would say that Ravens free agency has gone well so far. Yes, there were a few wide receivers that may have fit better than Sammy Watkins. For example, I would have rather had Marvin Jones Jr., even at a slightly higher price. But I am happy with the signing of Sammy Watkins.
According to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, the Ravens probably aren’t going to mess with the compensatory pick formula before the 2021 NFL Draft.
“The Ravens continue to monitor the free-agent market, but with them wanting to protect the two fourth-round compensatory picks they are in line to get for the free-agent departures of Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, a signing of major significance is probably unlikely at this point.”– The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec
With that being said, I wanted to touch on potential players that would make sense for Ravens free agency after the 2021 NFL Draft. Of course, this all depends on how the draft goes. If the 2021 NFL Draft doesn’t satisfy all of these needs, the Ravens could look to one or more of the following players.
Players who could provide offensive help for the Ravens:
Ravens free agency target: Rick Wagner, OT.
I have said it many times before and I’ll say it again: bring back Rick Wagner. He is the #64 out of 250 in the top 250 free agent list by PFF. They estimated he could be signed on a two-year deal worth $9 million. If the Ravens trade Orlando Brown Jr., it would create around $3 million in cap space. There’s most of the first years money right there.
Wagner is a solid fill-in for a couple of years. He is a veteran who has earned a 70 or higher PFF grade for five out of his seven full seasons. He could help the younger guys develop too. And he is also a player that was released by another team to create cap room (Packers), so the Ravens can sign him now. Even if the Ravens don’t trade Brown, bringing in Wagner is a solid move for 2 to 3 years. From a price and value standpoint plus the fact that he is a former Raven, Rick Wagner would be the best immediate replacement if Brown is traded.
Ravens free agency target: Trai Turner, G.
I also mentioned Trai Turner recently. This is a no-brainer for me. Turner had one bad season with the Chargers after being traded from the Panthers. He was starting to struggle in Carolina. However, early in his career, he looked like one of the best guards in football. Turner had 5 Pro Bowl seasons in a row.
The Chargers cut Turner, so the Ravens could sign him now. This would allow them to move Bradley Bozeman to his original position of center. Then, other than depth draft picks, the Ravens could be satisfied to start the season with this offensive line: Ronnie Stanley, LT, Trai Turner, LG, Bradley Bozeman, C, Kevin Zeitler, RG, Orlando Brown Jr., RT. Unless, of course, Orlando Brown Jr. is traded. Then, just sign Trai Turner and Rick Wagner as I said!
Ravens free agency target: Antonio Brown, WR.
This one is also a no-brainer for me. Antonio Brown is still one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. There is no doubt in my mind that he could help out the Ravens passing game. He may not be putting up the same numbers or performing at the same level, but he is still performing at a higher level than all of the Ravens’ current receivers.
Lamar Jackson and Marquise Brown would welcome this signing with open arms. And there would be immediate chemistry. Plus, Brown could help in the development of the younger receivers, as well as provide a reliable example on game day of what he is teaching them.
Ravens free agency target: Trey Burton, TE.
Look, I know the Ravens traded for Josh Oliver. But he may or may not suit up. Honestly, he may not even make the team. If Burton ends up still available after the draft, he is worth considering. As long as it is on a cheap one-year-prove-it-deal, I would be alright with this.
Burton has had some injury troubles, but in 2018, he had 54 receptions on 76 targets (71% catch rate) for 569 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is definitely capable of being a solid receiving tight end. Now, if the Ravens needed a receiving TE1, this would not be an option because of the injury. However, since the Ravens have a good amount of depth at TE, plus Mark Andrews as their top receiving TE, I would say this could be perfect.
The Ravens went 14-2 when they had two solid receiving tight ends on the roster. I am not saying it was only because of that, but it helped out. Burton could be a solid backup to Mark Andrews in the passing game. And with a predicted deal of one-year $3 million, I say it would be worth the risk.
Players who could provide defensive help for the Ravens:
Ravens free agency target: Gareon Conley, CB.
If the Ravens don’t draft a cornerback (they seem to usually draft at least), then I expect that they will bring in a free agent on a cheap deal. I say this because you never know if Tavon Young is going to stay healthy. I wouldn’t rely on him staying healthy, as much as I would love for him to do so. He adds a playmaker on the Ravens defense for sure.
If the Ravens bring in a solid depth cornerback in case Tavon Young gets injured again, then they will be able to keep Marlon Humphrey on the outside where he plays best and push Jimmy Smith to help the safeties in coverage. This could knock out two birds with one stone because DeShon Elliot and Chuck Clark need help in coverage (Jimmy Smith) and there needs to be more depth at cornerback in case of injuries.
Conley is actually #108 on PFF’s top 250 free agent list. He did miss all of last season with an ankle injury. However, he is a former first-round pick. And from 2017 to 2019, he forced incompletions on 22.2% of his targets. That was the second best-rate in the NFL during that time period. PFF predicted he would be re-signed by the Texans for a one-year $2.5 million contract. If he is still there after the 2021 NFL draft, I say go for it. There is a lot of upside here.
Ravens free agency target: Tre Boston, FS.
I mentioned in a recent article about how the Ravens defense would benefit from adding depth in coverage. This could come in the form of another cornerback (preferably slot) or safety. It could also be both. This can be through the draft or free agency. If it doesn’t happen through the draft, Tre Boston is a veteran option who could help out Elliot and Clark in coverage.
Boston could also help Elliot and Clark grow. I did mention in a previous article that Malik Hooker would be a great addition at safety for the Ravens (and I still believe that), but Tre Boston doesn’t have the same injury concerns to worry about like with Malik Hooker. In 2020, Boston only had one interception. However, from 2016 to 2019, Boston had 13 interceptions. Considering the Ravens had the fourth-lowest number of interceptions (10) last season, they could use some help in that department.
The even better part? Boston was cut by the Carolina Panthers to save cap space, so this is actually someone that wouldn’t have to wait until after the draft. Players who are cut by another team don’t affect the comp pick formula.
Ravens free agency target: Vic Beasley, EDGE.
Now, I know Beasley hasn’t played like the 2016 version of himself in a while (15.5 sacks lead the NFL). However, he could come at a very low cost (possibly $4 million or less on a one-year deal). This may be a gamble worth taking. Even though Beasley struggled last season (played for the Titans and the Raiders), he had 8 sacks and 42 tackles including 8 tackles for loss with 2 forced fumbles in 2019. In 2017 and 2018, he had 5 sacks each year.
Yes, 2016 was obviously his best year. He had 15.5 sacks and 6 forced fumbles plus 11 tackles for loss. The thing is, he can still get pressure on the QB. He would be a solid addition to the Ravens pass rush at a very low cost with potential high upside.
Ravens free agency target: Justin Houston, EDGE.
I hope this one happens, but the Colts seem interested in re-signing him. We will see how it goes. If he is still there after the draft, he is worth pursuing, especially because that means his price will only drop.
Now, Houston is no longer playing at the level he once was, but last year he still had 8 sacks (which is more than Matt Judon had). Yes, he is not putting up 22 sacks again any time soon. But, put it this way, from 2017 to 2020 (ages 28 to 31), he had 37.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles, and 45 tackles for loss. He is still a great player.
The Ravens obviously won’t sign all of these players. But depending on who they draft and at what positions they draft, any one of these players could fill a void or provide depth for the Ravens.
While you are here, check out more Ravens news:
Where to find the Cheapest Baltimore Ravens Gear?
Baltimore Ravens News Update 2021: What has happened and what needs to get done
Baltimore Ravens Depth Chart 2021: Taking a look at the Ravens defense.
Sammy Watkins Twitter Rumor: Watkins to the Baltimore Ravens?
Please note, this article does contain affiliate links. Affiliate links provide me with a commission on any product or service purchases you make BUT at no extra cost to you. Help keep Ravens Rundown up and running!