Eisenberg: 50 Words or Less

Free Agent DE J.J. Watt

Various thoughts on various things, all in 50 words or less:

There's no doubt J.J. Watt can still help a team. But I see financial considerations getting in the way of him joining the Ravens in free agency. They already have big money invested in their defensive line with Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell. Their biggest expenditures need to go elsewhere.

Speaking of those other needs, the Ravens currently rank No. 29 in the league in money invested in their 2021 offensive line, according to Spotrac. And two-thirds is going to one player, tackle Ronnie Stanley. If they truly want to upgrade that unit, they need to up their investment.

Aside from the O-line, the Ravens' other top needs are wide receiver, where they could use a productive veteran, and defensive edge, where they might get stripped bare in free agency. They probably can only afford to take one expensive swing. My two cents, go get a high-end interior lineman.

The above suggestion prompts an obvious question, namely, what about the pass rush if it does get stripped bare in free agency? Well, that position could easily become a prioritized target in the draft. I've already seen several mock drafts linking the Ravens to edge rushers at No 27 overall.

As for adding a veteran receiver, that's always a possibility. But with a new pass-game specialist and new receivers coach walking the halls of the Under Armour Performance Center, my hunch is the organization mainly hopes to see the talented young receivers already on hand become more productive.

Given the Ravens' fondness for tight ends, there'll surely be speculation about them going after the Eagles' Zach Ertz, who is on the trading block. I don't see it happening. With Mark Andrews and Nick Boyle on the roster, the missing piece at the position is a speedy downfield target.

As always, the Ravens are facing some tough decisions as they start to build their 2021 roster. But one easy call is assigning a second-round tender to running back Gus Edwards, a restricted free agent. That likely would assure the return of a player who has done nothing but produce.

I'm sure the Ravens would love to bring back D-lineman Derek Wolfe, who played well in 2020 and enjoyed being here. But I'm also sure the Ravens are tempted to hand over that starting spot to Justin Madubuike, who is much cheaper and came on strong late last season.

I'm not sure which of the NFL's pandemic-related changes that we saw in 2020 will become permanent. But I'd vote to keep the expanded practice squads and more liberal rules about calling players up. It gives opportunities to more guys and helps keep the player population healthier overall.

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