The Ravens' 2020 offseason is underway, and it will be a crucial one in setting the table for another possible run at a Super Bowl.
After a franchise-best 14 wins, the Ravens still have a lot of pieces in place. But there will of course be many changes to the roster.
Here's a complete guide to Baltimore's 2020 offseason:
Top Pending Free Agents
OLB Matthew Judon – With more attention following other pass rusher departures, Judon led the Ravens with 9.5 sacks this season. He has had steady production over his four years (28.5 sacks) and was named to his first Pro Bowl this year. Judon had more sacks on his rookie contract than former Raven Za'Darius Smith, who signed a reported four-year, $66 million deal with the Packers last offseason. Baltimore could offer Judon a multi-year deal or place the franchise tag on him to prevent him from hitting the open market.
DT Michael Pierce – Pierce partnered with Brandon Williams to give the Ravens one of the best interior run stopping duos in the league. A 14-game starter, Pierce logged 35 tackles and 0.5 sacks. An undrafted free agent in 2016, Pierce said he would like to stay in Baltimore, but knows that Williams is under contract for two more seasons and the Ravens drafted another run-stopping defensive tackle, Daylon Mack, last year.
CB Jimmy Smith – Smith bounced back from a knee injury that knocked him out for seven games to have another strong season. There's no doubt that the Ravens defense has been better with Smith on the field. The problem is he has played all 16 games just two times in his nine seasons. What would the market be [ADD] for a very talented 31-year-old cornerback with a long injury history? Smith has made it clear he wants to remain in Baltimore. The Ravens have Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters under contract for next year, but also place a high importance on cornerback strength.
LB Patrick Onwuasor – "Peanut" finished third on the team in tackles, but wasn't the breakout defensive player some anticipated this season. He wasn't a natural fit at MIKE linebacker replacing C.J. Mosley, then shared time with L.J. Fort once he moved back to weakside linebacker. He didn't make as many splash plays in 2019 as he did in 2018. Fort was signed to a midseason contract extension.
CB Brandon Carr – Carr has been an "Iron Man" for the Ravens defense the past three years. He hasn't missed a start during his entire 12-year career. Like the past two years, Carr is operating under a team-controlled option for the 2021 season worth $7 million, per Spotrac. At 33 years old, Carr made it clear he wants to keep playing, so he'll be waiting to see if the Ravens will pick up the option.
Highest Projected Earners
Top Areas of Need
Pass rusher – The Ravens blitzed more than any other team in the league but still finished 21st in the NFL in sacks (37). Baltimore's outside linebacker room has been raided in recent years, with Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith departing last offseason. If Judon isn't in purple come March, the need becomes even more magnified. Jaylon Ferguson and Tyus Bowser are the top two outside linebackers under contract next year.
Interior offensive line – Matt Skura suffered a torn ACL, MCL and PCL in late November, and is hopeful to be back for training camp, but it's no guarantee. Undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari stepped in admirably, but the Ravens were beat up front in their playoff loss. If Pro Bowl veteran Marshal Yanda retires, Baltimore will have a big hole inside.
Inside linebacker – The Ravens had trouble making up for the loss of C.J. Mosley last offseason. Fort is under contract for next year, but he's the only one, as Josh Bynes and Onwuasor are both free agents. While the Ravens were hardly the only team that had trouble containing Titans running back Derrick Henry down the stretch – despite stacking the box to do so – it shed light on how a three-down linebacker would help the unit.
Wide receiver – Much of Baltimore's offense runs through MVP Lamar Jackson, the running backs and the tight ends, but the Ravens could use more threatening weapons outside to pair with speedster Marquise "Hollywood" Brown. Willie Snead IV is also under contract and is a reliable target and blocker, but another outside receiver would help.
Return specialist – The Ravens finished 30th in the league in kickoff return average (18.3) and eighth in punt return average (8.2). Baltimore flipped from Cyrus Jones to De'Anthony Thomas midseason but it didn't provide a spark.
Projected Draft Possibilities
The Ravens have the 28th pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
- LB Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma
- EDGE Curtis Weaver, Boise State
- EDGE Terrell Lewis, Alabama
- WR Justin Jackson, LSU
- WR Bryan Edwards, South Carolina
- LB/EDGE Zach Baun, Wisconsin
- C Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
- DE/OLB Yetur Gross-Matos, Penn State
- DE A.J. Epenesa, Iowa
- OG Solomon Kindley, Georgia
2020 Dates to Know
- Feb. 24-March 2 - NFL Scouting Combine
- March 10 - Last day for teams to place franchise or transition tags on players
- March 18 - Free agency opens
- March 29-April 1 - NFL League Meetings (Palm Beach, Fla.)
- April 23-25: NFL Draft (Las Vegas)