Bengals Reportedly Interested in Bradley Bozeman
If Bradley Bozeman is still playing for an AFC North team next season, it might not be the Ravens.
The Cincinnati Bengals are expected to show interest in the pending free agent center if he hits the open market, according to Pro Football Network's Aaron Wilson.
Upgrading the offensive line is the Bengals' top priority this offseason. It's also high on the Ravens' offseason to-do list.
Cincinnati is in significantly better shape salary cap-wise to address their needs. The defending AFC champions have approximately $49 million in salary-cap space (fourth-most in the league), according to Over The Cap, while the Ravens have approximately $9 million.
Bozeman, who was the Ravens' starting left guard for two seasons before moving to center in 2021, has been dependable and durable during his four seasons in Baltimore. NFL.com’s Gil Brandt wrote that Bozeman is one pending free agent the Ravens should keep.
However, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote that Bozeman, one of the top pending free-agent offensive linemen, has probably priced himself out of a return to Baltimore.
One Mistake Ravens Must Avoid Making in the Draft
Bleacher Report’s Brent Sobleski named one mistake every team must avoid making in the upcoming draft, and for the Ravens it's "concentrating on the trenches and ignoring cornerback."
Sobleski acknowledged that the offensive and defensive lines need to be addressed in the draft, but he contended that cornerback is just as big a priority.
"Injuries marred the Ravens secondary in 2021. Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters finished their seasons on injured reserve," Sobleski wrote. "Furthermore, Anthony Averett, Jimmy Smith and DeShon Elliott are upcoming free agents. Considering Baltimore must face Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals' trio of talented receivers twice a year, they should value defensive backs at a premium.
"Maybe Humphrey and Peters will come back healthy to fortify the secondary. The Ravens shouldn't bank on that and should consider a cornerback as high as the 14th pick."
Sobleski is not alone in his belief that the Ravens should think about selecting a cornerback with their first pick. In our most recent mock draft roundup, three pundits mocked a cornerback to the Ravens at No. 14.
With 10 picks, including nine in the first four rounds, the Ravens should have sufficient draft capital to address the trenches and cornerback.
ESPN's Ryan Clark: Lamar Jackson Should Not Even Walk on Grass Without New Contract
Lamar Jackson's contract extension, or lack thereof, continues to be a hot topic among national pundits.
ESPN's Adam Schefter's thoughts on the subject were noted in yesterday’s Late for Work. Now ESPN's Ryan Clark has weighed in. Clark said Jackson should not play without a new contract.
"Lamar Jackson deserves to be compensated and he deserves to be in that $40 million-plus crew with the Dak Prescotts, the Josh Allens, the Patrick Mahomes of the world," Clark said. "I believe that's what he needs to get to even walk on the grass in Baltimore."
The Ravens have made it clear that they want to get a deal done with Jackson, who does not have an agent. General Manager Eric DeCosta said a few weeks ago that they're "working at Lamar's pace."
Jackson said last month that he's more focused on "getting back right, right now, and getting ready for this offseason" than his contract, but Clark disagreed with that approach.
"Even before I start working on my game in the offseason, if I'm Lamar Jackson I start getting these numbers to where I need to be so I can even go to training camp, so I can even go to OTAs," Clark said. "He has to look at his football mortality. … He has proven that he can carry a franchise. He has proven he can play MVP-caliber ball. Now it's time for Lamar Jackson to make sure he gets paid like it.
"So if I'm him, if I'm his friend, if I'm his adviser, if I'm a lawyer he knows, if I'm his mother, I tell him we aren't even getting on a flight to Maryland until they're ready to put ink to paper."
Ravens Named As Potential Landing Spot for Jarvis Landry
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry has been talked about as a cap-casualty candidate, and Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay named the Ravens as one of four potential landing spots for the five-time Pro Bowler.
"The Ravens would be foolish to pass on an opportunity to add Landry into the mix," Kay wrote. "The savvy veteran would be an ideal fit in this receiving corps, complementing [Marquise] Brown and promising rookie Rashod Bateman by moving the chains and making reliable plays."
Kay noted that the Ravens' 36.4% third-down conversion rate was the eighth-worst in the league, and Landry has ranked within the top 30 for receiving first downs in the first seven of his eight seasons.
Landry, who missed five games this past season (four due to a knee injury, one because of illness) posted career-lows of 52 catches, 570 yards and two touchdowns in 2021. The 29-year-old is heading into the final year of his contract and is set to make $14.3 million in base salary, according to Spotrac.com.
While a player of Landry's caliber possibly joining the Ravens is compelling, it doesn't seem likely. DeCosta said at his season-ending press conference that he's comfortable with the team's group of wide receivers.
"With [Sammy] Watkins headed to free agency, GM Eric DeCosta could look to add a veteran, but with bigger holes along the line and on defense, shelling out to woo a big name doesn't appear in the cards," NFL.com’s Kevin Patra wrote.
Would Ravens Have Interest in Bringing Back TE Maxx Williams?
A potential reunion between the Ravens and tight end Hayden Hurst was discussed in Wednesday’s Late for Work, but could another former Ravens tight end return to Baltimore?
If the Ravens are looking for an affordable tight end to join All-Pro Mark Andews and Nick Boyle, Maxx Williams might be an option.
Pro Football Focus’ Ben Linsey named Williams as the top buy-low tight end in free agency. PFF's cap expert Brad Spielberger projected Williams' contract at three years, $18.75 million with $10 million guaranteed.
"The draw to Williams is that there's a nice floor in place as a high-end No. 2 tight end who has been one of the best blockers at the position in the NFL in recent years," Linsey wrote. "Since joining the Arizona Cardinals in 2019, Williams' 83.8 PFF run-blocking grade ranks first among all qualifying tight ends. And that's likely where his contract is going to come in.
"But Williams could be more than just a blocking tight end. He was given more of a run in the passing game last season in Arizona before an ACL injury ended his season, and he caught 16 of 17 targets for 193 yards and a touchdown in four-plus games. There's enough there for a franchise to give the former second-round selection a shot as a TE1 coming off injury."
He wouldn't be a TE1 with the Ravens, but Williams could be a valuable addition to an offense that thrived in 2019 with the three-headed monster of Andrews, Boyle and Hurst.
Williams was drafted by the Ravens in 2015 and spent four years in Baltimore. He set the franchise record for receiving for a rookie tight end with 32 catches for 268 yards. Andrews surpassed it in 2018 with 34 catches for 552 yards.
In his second season, Williams underwent a rare knee surgery that, according to his doctors, no NFL player had ever come back from. Williams missed 20 games in his final three seasons with the Ravens.
Re-Signing Tony Jefferson Is a 'Worthwhile, Low Risk Investment'
Speaking of reunions, the one with Tony Jefferson went so well this past season that the Ravens are bringing the veteran safety back in 2022.
Jefferson, 30, was signed to Baltimore's practice squad on Dec. 13 and was quickly elevated to the 53-man roster with the Ravens' secondary decimated by injuries. He led the team with 10 tackles in Week 16 against the Bengals and ended the season with 18 tackles in four games, while also contributing on special teams.
Baltimore Beatdown’s Frank Platko said Jefferson could fill the void of Anthony Levine Sr., who retired after this past season. Levine played a hybrid safety/linebacker role in addition to being a special teams ace.
"If his short stint to end 2021 is any indication, Jefferson may actually bring more defensive upside to the table at this stage than Levine did," Platko wrote. "He is four years younger, after all, and was a higher-end defensive player at their respective peaks.
"Any contributions as a rotational box safety and/or dime backer the Ravens could get out of Jefferson would be a plus. This, combined with his special teams ability and veteran attributes, make retaining him a worthwhile, low-risk investment."