How Does Aaron Rodgers Deal, Russell Wilson Trade Affect Ravens?
Aaron Rodgers signing a mega-deal to remain with the Packers and Russell Wilson being traded to the Broncos sent shockwaves throughout the NFL yesterday.
Both moves involving superstar quarterbacks could have significant impact on the Ravens.
It was originally reported that Rodgers' contract extension was for four years, $200 million, which would make him the highest-paid player in league history based on average annual salary ($50 million). Rodgers later posted on social media that the reported terms of the contract were inaccurate.
Whatever the actual figures are, Rodgers' deal undoubtedly has the attention of Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
There has been speculation that one of the reasons Jackson hasn't been in a hurry to work out a contract extension is that he's waiting to see what new deals for Rodgers and Los Angeles Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford look like.
After news of Rodgers' deal broke, social media was buzzing about what it means for Jackson, who will earn $23 million in 2022 if he doesn't sign a contract extension.
"If you're Lamar Jackson right now, sans agent because he don't really need one, you're feeling pretty good about your market value playing out this fifth-year option as long as you stay relatively healthy," 105.7 The Fan’s Jason La Canfora said.
As for Wilson, it's expected that the Broncos will sign him to a contract extension once the trade is finalized. He was set to earn $24 million in 2022 and $27 million in 2023.
Denver acquiring Wilson also means that there's another legitimate Super Bowl contender in the AFC for the Ravens to deal with.
A conference already loaded with talented quarterbacks before the trade now adds Wilson to the likes of Jackson, the Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes, Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen, Cincinnati Bengals' Joe Burrow and Los Angeles Chargers' Justin Herbert.
Denver, which went 7-10 last season and hasn't had a winning record since 2016, saw its odds to win the Super Bowl skyrocket after news of the trade broke.
The Broncos have the fifth-best odds (+1200) to host the Lombardi trophy, trailing only the Bills (+6500), Chiefs (+700), Packers (+800) and defending champion Rams (+1000), according to DraftKings. The Ravens (+2200) are tied for the eight-best odds.
The Ravens will host Wilson and the Broncos at M&T Bank Stadium next season. And that's an example of why projecting which team has the “easiest” schedule based on its opponents' records the previous season is flawed.
Pro Football Focus Says One Ravens Free Agent Is Overrated, One Is Underrated
Pro Football Focus’ Anthony Treash, via ESPN.com, identified one free agent at each position who is overrated and one who is underrated. Two Ravens were mentioned: center Bradley Bozeman (overrated) and interior defensive lineman Calais Campbell (underrated).
"Bozeman is perhaps the least overrated of any of the players listed in this article, but the expectations for him in 2022 and beyond might be a little too high," Treash wrote. "He reclaimed his career by moving to center in 2021 after three years at guard. Bozeman earned a 73.3 PFF grade last season, which is nearly 10 points higher than his previous career-best. That said, Bozeman is scheme-limited and saw most of his production bump for 2021 happen during a stretch of games early in the year."
The consensus is that Bozeman, who reportedly is on the radar of a number of teams, will be too expensive for the Ravens to-resign.
As for Campbell, it's odd for a six-time Pro Bowler to be referred to as underrated, but the fact that he's still playing at a high level as he enters his 15th season is surprising to some.
"Many are starting to put the 'washed-up' tag on Campbell," Treash wrote. "He may not be performing as he did in his prime when he rattled off four straight elite seasons with 90.0-plus grades from 2016 through 2019, but he's still one of the best players at the position.
"He earned an 80.8 PFF grade last year with the Ravens, which cracked the top 10 among qualifying interior defensive linemen, and his positively graded run play rate trailed only Aaron Donald's for the best at the position."
Campbell has made it clear that winning a Super Bowl before he retires is his motivation to continue playing. General Manager Eric DeCosta said recently that he hopes to re-sign Campbell, but the Ravens could have competition for Campbell's services.
"He is ring-chasing at this point in his career, and contenders — such as Buffalo — should strongly consider bringing Campbell in," Treash wrote.
Ravens Go Big Early in The Athletic's Latest Mock Draft
Bolstering the trenches is one of the Ravens' top offseason priorities, and The Athletic's Dane Brugler has the team doing exactly that in his latest two-round mock draft.
Brugler mocks Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis (6-foot-6, 341 pounds), who turned heads by running a 4.78 40-yard dash at the Combine, to the Ravens with the 14th-overall selection, and Minnesota offensive tackle Daniel Faalela (6-8, 384) to them in the second round at No. 45 overall.
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec said it's hard to quibble with the suggestion that the Ravens go big early in the draft.
"The Ravens badly need to get bigger and more athletic along their offensive and defensive fronts and they'd do that in a major way by adding Davis and Faalela with their first two picks," Zrebiec wrote. "These two prospects are not just two of the largest humans in the draft. They're really good athletes, freakish in Davis' case as he proved at the combine."
However, there are concerns with both Davis and Faalela, Zrebiec said.
"Davis was not a three-down player at Georgia, playing less than half the team's defensive snaps in 2021," Zrebiec wrote. "He was not often used in obvious pass-rush situations. Georgia had a loaded defensive front, but NFL teams are going to have to project how effective Davis will become as an interior pass-rush presence and how well he'd manage a heavier workload.
"With Faalele, there's just a lot of projecting involved. The native Australian has played only four years of competitive football. His measurables are off the charts, but his size also creates some movement and flexibility challenges. His inexperience also showed on occasion. Teams are going to have to be comfortable with his ability to take to coaching and improve."