I am a huge Ravens fan. So, there are many different scenarios that come to mind when I think of the perfect Ravens offseason moves. But I prefer to be realistic (unlike my last article) because the Ravens are not usually the type of team to throw a bunch of money at one or two players.
According to Over the Cap, the Ravens are projected to have about $18,064,773 in cap space. I personally would say that Ravens biggest needs this offseason are finding a WR, their offensive line, and their pass rush.
With a projected 7 picks in the upcoming draft, some of this can be handled through the draft. But free agency is going to have to come into play as well if the Ravens expect to get their 3rd Super Bowl win since 1996. Therefore, more cap space is probably going to need to be created for the best Ravens offseason moves.
How to create more cap space for Ravens free agent signings.
The Baltimore Sun reported that after the Ravens voided Earl Thomas’ contract due to his actions that he filed a grievance. Because of this grievance, $4.1 million of the $10 million the Ravens voided is being held out of the Ravens cap in 2021.
If that can be handled before free agency, that would create $4.1 million more in cap space for the Ravens. We are going to round numbers in this article, so that would bump their cap space to around $22 million.
The front office is not afraid of restructuring or extending contracts to create more cap space for Ravens offseason additions. They have already done it with Nick Boyle. I anticipate that it will happen again with other players.
Highest cap hits on the Ravens for 2021:
- Calais Campbell — $16 million
- Ronnie Stanley — $15.2 million
- Brandon Williams — $14.4 million
- Marcus Peters — $13.5 million
- Marlon Humphrey — $10.2 million
When I look at these five players, the three that stand out to me immediately for possible contract restructuring or extension are Campbell, Williams, and Marcus Peters. Stanley and Peters just recently had contract extensions.
I provided links to the Over the Cap analysis for each players’ contract above. I believe that Marcus Peters has clearly proven his worth and at 28 years old, it would make sense to extend his contract. If you use the Over the Cap tool, you can see the projected capital gain or loss per transaction. By extending Marcus Peters, the Ravens could potentially gain $9.18 million to their cap, plus money next year as well. This is the smartest move.
However, seeing as we are in contention for the Superbowl, it also makes sense to extend both Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell for at least a year each. Both are only signed through next season. By extending Campbell, the Ravens would save $8.8 million. They could also save $6 million by extending Williams.
Other potential Ravens extensions:
There are other potential extensions, like Lamar Jackson or Mark Andrews. These have been talked about and could happen this year or next year, but they wouldn’t create nearly as much cap space, so I won’t include those. There is also the possibility of cutting players like Brandon Williams or LJ Fort, but I definitely don’t see Brandon Williams being cut. Also, LJ Fort creates a veteran presence among the inside linebackers. Why create more holes if you can extend or restructure and not create dead money.
With just the players I included, that could potentially create about $24 million in cap space. Which would more than double the current cap space ($46 million) for Ravens free agent signings. So, let’s work with that and see what happens.
What are the best Ravens offseason moves to make?
In order to try and be realistic. I have projected through the use of the Over the Cap tool (great tool btw) that we could get our cap space to around $46 million if all goes well. And it’s actually a realistic thing to imagine because the Ravens have a habit of restructuring and extending contracts to create cap space.
With that being said, I want to start with the players that I do think the Ravens will re-sign. All of the numbers that I use will take into consideration the estimated market value assigned to these players by Over the Cap, as well as the fact that the entire league is working on a smaller overall cap because of the pandemic.
- Tyus Bowser — signs a 4-year deal at around $5 million a year.
- Pernell McPhee — signs a 1-year deal at around $3 million a year
- Derek Wolfe — signs a 2-year deal at around $4 million a year
- DJ Fluker — signs a 2-year deal at around $3 million a year
- Gus Edwards — 2nd-round tender (which I believe costs around $3 million a year)
- Jihad Ward, Justin Ellis, Chris Board, Johnny Townsend, and Trystan Colon-Castillo — all get re-signed to around the minimum, so we will say about $5 million here.
Add all of that up and that is about $24 million in space used. So, all of that space we made restructuring and extending contracts went to retaining some starters and a lot of depth players before even making any Ravens offseason additions.
What are the next moves for the Ravens?
Well now that we have re-signed some players because we love retaining our homegrown talent. I believe now we trade Orlando Brown Jr. He wants to play left tackle and honestly, I don’t blame him. However, I think we should try and get more value out of him. If we lose him to free agency next year (which we will), we get a 3rd round comp pick at best.
Why not get more now?
As I said in a previous article, I think the best possible trade here is to trade OBJ to the Dallas Cowboys for Michael Gallup and a 3rd round pick. We would fulfill our need for a potential WR1 (or just someone to complement Marquise Brown and add another reliable, passing option for Lamar Jackson) and get more draft capital. The Ravens love trades and they love draft capital. This would be one of my favorite possible Ravens offseason moves.
What about free agency?
I honestly see the Ravens focusing mainly on their offensive line in free agency. We need veterans with experience on the line. If we want a Super Bowl next year, we can’t wait for someone to grow into a Marshall Yanda. It’s not going to happen that quickly (or ever because it’s Marshall Yanda).
Best possible Ravens free agent signings:
- Alex Mack — sign to a 2-year deal worth about $4.5 million a year (then draft a young center or continue growing Mekari or Colon-Castillo)
- Rick Wagner — sign to a 2-year deal worth about $4.5 million a year. He is a former Raven and could step in for the loss of OBJ and perform well immediately.
- Jadeveon Clowney — sign to a 1 year-prove-it-deal worth about $5 million. This would potentially bolster the Ravens pass rush immediately, but not make them commit to anything long if it doesn’t work out. Also, allows them to bring someone young in the draft that doesn’t have all the pressure to immediately perform at the top level.
- Trey Burton — sign to a 2-year deal worth about $3 million a year. The Ravens always play better with 3 good tight ends, especially if they have two that can be receiving threats.
This would leave a breathing room of say $9 million in cap space for any additional Ravens offseason moves needed. (if you factor in the $3 million gained from trading Brown).
3-round mock draft
The Ravens currently have these projected picks for the first three rounds:
- 1st-round pick 27
- 2nd-round pick 58
- 3rd-round pick 105
- And if they trade Brown to the Cowboys for Michael Gallup and a 3rd round pick… they’d also have 3rd round pick 75
Who will the Baltimore Ravens select in the first 3 rounds?
- Round 1 — Jaelan Phillips, DE of the Miami Hurricanes — young blood for our edge rush/defensive line with HUGE potential.
- Round 2 — Jevon Holland, Safety, Oregon — if he is still there, I could see the Ravens trading up using a 4th rounder or something to grab him because they need a safety who is better in coverage to play with Elliot and Clark.
Round 3 — Amari Rodgers WR Clemson — I could see the Ravens drafting him for more WR help, especially since new coach Tee Martin is his dad and has the inside scoop.
I know this would take a lot of what-ifs to happen, but I truly believe this would be a realistic and perfect offseason for the Baltimore Ravens. If we do something along these lines, I wouldn’t wanna be the team playing us in the playoffs next season.
Thanks for reading!
Stay tuned for more!
Please note, this article does contain affiliate links. Affiliate links provide me with a commission on any product or services purchases you make BUT at no extra cost to you.