This week, the Ravens will flip their full consideration towards probably the most pivotal offseasons in group historical past.
On Thursday, coach John Harbaugh and normal supervisor Eric DeCosta will converse to the media on the group’s Owings Mills facility to debate the previous and way forward for the group, which has not superior previous the divisional spherical in 4 of the previous 5 postseasons and has but to agree on a long-term contract with its greatest star.
As the Ravens look to regroup following a 10-8 marketing campaign, right here’s a glance forward on the offseason.
What occurs with quarterback Lamar Jackson? One of the most important storylines not solely in Baltimore however across the NFL is what occurs with Jackson’s contract negotiations as he enters unrestricted free company. The 2019 NFL Most Valuable participant missed the ultimate six video games of the season with a sprained knee a 12 months after sitting out the ultimate 4 video games in 2021 with a bone bruise in his ankle, casting doubt about his sturdiness as he reportedly seeks a totally assured contract. If the Ravens can’t come to phrases with the 2018 first-round draft choose, they’ll convey him again on the one-year franchise tag, which is predicted to be round $45 million for quarterbacks. The Ravens should make that call between Feb. 21 and March 7, though the franchise tag nonetheless leaves room for negotiations to proceed on a long-term contract.
What does the offense appear to be subsequent season? Even if Jackson returns, there are nonetheless main questions in regards to the route of an offense that completed with one of many league’s least productive passing assaults. Greg Roman has been closely scrutinized throughout his 4 seasons as offensive coordinator for an absence of creativity along with his passing ideas, although the Ravens’ speeding recreation returned to kind in 2022 by rating second within the NFL in effectivity, in response to Football Outsiders. While Jackson carried out at an MVP stage throughout the first month of the season, he had few alternatives to play with a full complement of weapons as working again J.Okay. Dobbins and huge receiver Rashod Bateman stepped out and in of the lineup due to accidents. With Bateman present process surgical procedure to handle a Lisfranc damage in his foot, the Ravens as soon as once more enter the offseason needing assist at huge receiver.
Which veterans are staying or going? Defensive lineman Calais Campbell hasn’t dedicated to coming again for his sixteenth season. His retirement would open up an enormous gap not solely on protection, however within the locker room, because the six-time Pro Bowl choice has been a gradual chief all through his Ravens tenure. Other main contributors resembling cornerback Marcus Peters, exterior linebacker Justin Houston and left guard Ben Powers are getting into free company, in addition to vital position gamers resembling tight finish Josh Oliver, exterior linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul and working again Justice Hill.
Salary cap state of affairs
The NFL Network reported in early December that the wage cap for the 2023 season is predicted to exceed $220 million. That would set an all-time report after the cap for the 2022 season got here in at $208.2 million.
According to knowledge from Over The Cap, the Ravens’ efficient cap area — calculated after the group indicators at the very least 51 gamers and its projected rookie class to its roster — shall be roughly $24.1 million. That projection ranks eighth highest within the NFL.
However, if the Ravens come to an settlement with Jackson on a profitable contract extension, it might create short-term financial savings. During the primary 12 months of their offers, the Denver Broncos’ Russell Wilson and the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen every had cap hits at or beneath $17 million. Otherwise, a $45 million franchise tag for Jackson may very well be prohibitive to signing potential free brokers.
The Ravens might additionally unencumber area by releasing or trading players with relatively significant cap hits — resembling working again Gus Edwards, security Chuck Clark and defensive sort out Michael Pierce — or by restructuring profitable contracts for left sort out Ronnie Stanley, cornerback Marlon Humphrey and tight finish Mark Andrews.
The Ravens are anticipated to have 5 picks in April’s draft, which might be one among their smallest lessons ever. The solely different Baltimore draft with fewer than six picks got here in 1999, the 12 months earlier than the franchise gained its first Super Bowl.
The purpose? Trades and an absence of compensatory picks. The Ravens are sending their second- and one among their fifth-round picks to the Chicago Bears as a part of the midseason commerce for inside linebacker Roquan Smith, whom they signed to a five-year, $100 million extension. Their seventh-round choose can be heading to the New York Giants as a part of the deal for guard Ben Bredeson in August 2021.
For the primary time since 2010, the Ravens aren’t anticipated to obtain any compensatory draft picks, that are awarded primarily based on the gamers every group misplaced and gained in free company. The Ravens obtained three comp picks in 2022 — a third-round choose (No. 100) and two fourth-round picks (139, 141).
Unrestricted: QB Lamar Jackson, CB Marcus Peters, OLB Justin Houston, CB Kyle Fuller, RT Ja’Wuan James, WR Sammy Watkins, OLB Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Brent Urban, OLB Steven Means, TE Josh Oliver, RB Kenyan Drake, WR Demarcus Robinson, OLB Vince Biegel, CB Kevon Seymour, RB Justice Hill, G Ben Powers, CB Daryl Worley
Restricted: QB Tyler Huntley, C Trystan Colon, LB Kristian Welch, S Geno Stone, OLB Del’Shawn Phillips, LS Nick Moore
Exclusive rights: DB Ar’Darius Washington
Wide receiver: Through a mix of accidents and ineffectiveness, huge receiver has continued to be a weak spot for the Ravens. According to ESPN, over the previous three seasons, Baltimore is final within the NFL in receiving yards by huge receivers by greater than 800 yards. With Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay each recovering from season-ending foot accidents and veterans Demarcus Robinson and Sammy Watkins hitting free company, there must be much more urgency to discover a prime wideout to assist enhance the passing recreation.
Cornerback: If Marcus Peters doesn’t return, the Ravens will want one other beginning cornerback reverse three-time Pro Bowl choice Marlon Humphrey. Brandon Stephens performed the third-most snaps amongst Ravens corners in 2022 however has been inconsistent since being drafted within the third spherical in 2021. Rookies Damarion “Pepe” Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis additionally struggled after being thrust into the beginning lineup early within the season. Veteran Kyle Fuller, who turns 31 on Feb. 16, performed solely 80 snaps earlier than struggling a torn ACL.
Defensive line: Justin Madubuike, Travis Jones and Broderick Washington have shaped a strong group on the inside, however the Ravens didn’t get a lot manufacturing from their edge rushers exterior of soon-to-be 34-year-old Justin Houston. Young exterior linebackers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo have proven promise, however the Ravens might want to substitute roughly 1,800 mixed snaps from Houston, Calais Campbell, Jason Pierre-Paul and Brent Urban if these veterans don’t return.
Offensive line: The robust return of left sort out Ronnie Stanley and the stableness of veteran proper sort out Morgan Moses has solidified two spots that had been a significant query mark getting into 2022. Rookie Tyler Linderbaum has additionally graded as one of many league’s finest facilities after being drafted within the first spherical. However, with left guard Ben Powers getting into free company and proper guard Kevin Zeitler getting into the ultimate 12 months of his deal, there’s a necessity on the inside. Fourth-round choose Daniel Faalele is a promising expertise and Patrick Mekari is a flexible piece, however the Ravens might use one other younger prospect or two to both begin at guard or function a swing sort out.
Feb. 2: East-West Shrine Bowl (Las Vegas)
Feb. 4: Senior Bowl (Mobile, Alabama)
Feb. 28-March 6: NFL scouting mix (Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis)
March 7: Deadline for golf equipment to designate franchise or transition gamers
March 13-15: Clubs are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with brokers of gamers who will change into unrestricted free brokers
March 15: The begin of the brand new league 12 months at 4 p.m. ET. All 2022 participant contracts expire and golf equipment can start formally signing free brokers and making trades
March 26-29: NFL annual assembly (Phoenix)
April 3: Start of offseason exercises for groups with new head coaches
April 17: Start of offseason exercises for groups with incumbent coaches
April 26: Last day for groups to match supply sheets for restricted free brokers
April 27: Deadline for groups to time, check and interview draft-eligible prospects
April 27-29: NFL draft (Kansas City, Missouri)