Ravens Will Likely Ride Third Wave; Best Free Agents Still Available

General Manager Eric DeCosta sits in his office at the Under Armour Performance Center in Owings Mills, MD.

The Ravens have 10 selections in the 2022 NFL Draft, but that may not be enough to fill all their offseason needs.

Baltimore needs plug-and-play contributors at cornerback, edge rusher, inside linebacker and on the defensive line. The Ravens could use more depth or insurance at other spots, including offensive tackle, tight end and running back.

General Manager Eric DeCosta said the Ravens have shifted their focus mostly to the NFL Draft at this point.

"With the Draft coming quickly, one strategy may be to draft and then see where we need to fill in at that point. We think we're in a good position right now with all the moves that we've made," DeCosta said.

"We may have some moves to announce in the next couple weeks, but the Draft really does kind of move to the forefront. After the Draft, we'll reassess, see where we are as a team and consider players that are still out there on the streets."

The Ravens' pursuit of pass rusher Za'Darius Smith and reported interest in inside linebacker Bobby Wagner fell through. Baltimore could address both positions in the draft, where edge rusher is one of the best and deepest classes. Utah inside linebacker Devin Lloyd could very well be the Ravens' first-round pick.

If the draft doesn't yield a player the Ravens are confident can immediately be either a starter or difference-maker at either of those spots, or at the other areas of need, they will turn to the third wave of free agency.

DeCosta pointed to the signing of Daryl Smith in 2013 as an example of how the Ravens pounced in free agency after the draft. That was even after selecting Arthur Brown in the second round that year. Smith went on to have three standout seasons in Baltimore.

"There will be some Daryl Smith's on this team this year," DeCosta said.

"We're always looking at value. We're looking at all the players; that process doesn't end just because the first wave and maybe the second wave of free agency has passed us by. It doesn't mean that there aren't some good players out there still."

With that in mind, here are some of the top veteran free agents still available who could interest the Ravens:

DL Calais Campbell, Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens have been clear about their desire to bring Campbell back after he decided he's not going to retire. While Campbell's sack totals have fallen, he was still a disruptive player, a force against the run and a consummate teammate on and off the field.

EDGE Jadeveon Clowney, Cleveland Browns

Clowney has never been shy about waiting out the market and making a change. He's played on four different teams the past four seasons. The former No. 1-overall pick had a strong 2021 season in Cleveland with nine sacks.

CB Stephon Gilmore, Carolina Panthers

The 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year was traded to the Carolina Panthers last season but played in just eight games and saw more than 60% of the snaps in three. He still played at a high level with two interceptions and was the 17th-highest-graded cornerback from Pro Football Focus. He'll turn 32 near the start of next season, so it remains to be seen what the market will look like for him.

C J.C. Tretter, Cleveland Browns

The eight-year veteran was released at the start of free agency in a salary-cap savings move. Tretter had the second-best pass blocking grade in the NFL last season, per Pro Football Focus. However, Head Coach John Harbaugh said signing Tretter is unlikely and that Patrick Mekari is in line to start at center.

RB Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos

If the Ravens feel they need more insurance for JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards as they work their way back from season-ending knee injuries, they could sign a veteran. Gordon averaged 4.5 yards per carry last year and topped 900 rushing yards in his two season in Denver.

LB Joe Schobert, Pittsburgh Steelers

Schobert has topped 100 tackles in five straight seasons. He's a reliable run defender who is not far removed from a deal that averaged more than $10 million per season.

OLB Justin Houston, Baltimore Ravens

Houston joined the Ravens late in the offseason last year and was an instant hit with teammates and coaches. He only had 4.5 sacks in 15 games, but his 17 quarterback hits tell the story of a player that was more disruptive than the stat sheet shows.

CB Kyle Fuller, Denver Broncos

After being released by the Chicago Bears last offseason, Fuller signed a one-year deal for $9.5 million with the Broncos. He struggled and was eventually benched. However, it wasn't long ago (2018 and 2019) when Fuller went to back-to-back Pro Bowls and posted 10 interceptions over two seasons.

LB Anthony Barr, Minnesota Vikings

Injuries have limited Barr to just 13 games over the past two seasons, but he still posted 72 tackles, three interceptions and 2.5 sacks last year. The former first-round pick just turned 30 years old at the start of free agency.

CB A.J. Bouye, Carolina Panthers

Once seen as one of the game's top corners several years ago, Bouye has played for three different teams the past three seasons and was released earlier this offseason. Bouye has been hampered by injuries the past two years that have limited him to 17 games. He's coming off a late-season foot injury.

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