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Late for Work: Jadeveon Clowney Priced Himself Out of Ravens' Range

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (24) rushes during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jadeveon Clowney (24) rushes during an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Monday, Dec. 25, 2023, in Santa Clara, Calif.

Jadeveon Clowney Priced Himself Out of Ravens' Range

Heading into the offseason with over 20 pending free agents and limited cap space, the Ravens knew they were going to lose a number of players, including starters and other key contributors.

Outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney is arguably the toughest loss yet. The veteran agreed to a two-year deal with the Carolina Panthers yesterday for a reported $20 million with a max value of $24 million.

"This is one of the Ravens' biggest offseason losses to date," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "Clowney was one of their best and most consistent defensive players last season, tying a career high with 9 1/2 sacks to go along with five pass deflections, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery while playing in every game. The 31-year-old was also stout against the run, registering nine tackles for loss."

There seemed to be a realistic chance of Clowney returning. He spoke glowingly about his time in Baltimore after the season and expressed interest in coming back.

Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL Owners Meetings this week that he was optimistic the Ravens could re-sign Clowney or fellow outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy, or both. (Van Noy confirmed this week that he has spoken with General Manager Eric DeCosta about returning.)

In addition to the Panthers, Clowney also visited the New York Jets and reportedly remained in contact with the Ravens. According to CBS Sports' Josina Anderson, a big factor in Clowney's decision was the opportunity to be closer to his home and family members.

"The Ravens were interested in bringing him back, but there was always the fear that he priced himself out of their range with how well he played last season. That's exactly how it played out," Zrebiec wrote. "The Ravens have hesitated in recent years to spend big money on free-agent edge rushers, instead choosing to sign veterans late in the process to modest deals. Last year, they got Clowney on a one-year, $2.5 million deal halfway through training camp."

Clowney's exit creates another void for the Ravens to fill. The top two edge rushers on the roster are Odafe Oweh (five sacks last season) and David Ojabo, who has been limited by injuries to five games in his two-year career.

"Baltimore is in a difficult spot, with very little cap space and not a lot available on the edge-rush market," Zrebiec wrote. "One potential move is re-signing veteran Kyle Van Noy, who had a career-high nine sacks last year. Beyond him, other available free agents include Yannick Ngakoue, Carl Lawson, Bud Dupree, Emmanuel Ogbah, Rasheem Green and Jerry Hughes.

"Coach John Harbaugh said Monday at the NFL's owners' meetings that he expected young pass rushers Odafe Oweh and David Ojabo to have breakout years. The Ravens also have 2023 fourth-round pick Tavius Robinson on the roster. Still, there is a clear need for an accomplished veteran to fill the Clowney void.

Clowney's Departure Brings Ravens Another Compensatory Pick

Clowney is the seventh compensatory free agent to leave the Ravens, who have signed just one (running back Derrick Henry). That means Baltimore is in line to receive the maximum four compensatory picks in the 2025 draft (a fourth-, fifth-, and two sixth-round selections).

Over The Cap contributor Nick Norte noted that the Ravens could sign as many as three low-level unrestricted free agents and not risk their four compensatory picks.

Due in large part to the impact of Lamar Jackson's contract on the salary cap, having as many draft picks as possible is important for the Ravens.

"We're going to be a draft-centric team, and as we've said, the landscape has changed a little bit, because we're paying a quarterback – who deserves it – a lot of money, and that's going to have a salary cap ramification for sure," DeCosta said at the end of season press conference last month. "We'll start to

feel that. We started to feel that last year. We'll feel that this year, as do a lot of teams, so draft picks are very important to us and will continue to be very important."

The Ravens, who have a fourth-round compensatory pick in this year's draft, have the most compensatory picks (56) since the system was instituted.

Teams qualify for compensatory picks by having more free agents lost than gained, and their round is based on a league formula that takes into account a player's average salary per year, snap count, and postseason awards.

J.K. Dobbins Reportedly Set to Visit Chargers

It appears there's a possibility running back J.K. Dobbins could reunite with former teammate Gus Edwards and offensive coordinator Greg Roman.

Dobbins is scheduled to visit the Los Angeles Chargers today, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The Chargers signed Edwards, Dobbins' teammate in the Ravens' backfield from 2020-2023, a couple weeks ago. Roman, who was Baltimore's offensive coordinator for the first three of those seasons, was hired as the Chargers' offensive coordinator by new Head Coach Jim Harbaugh last month.

It was reported yesterday that Dobbins, who suffered a torn Achilles in the Ravens' season opener last year and underwent surgery, had been cleared for football activities and was expected to begin free-agent visits.

Ravens Among Three Teams Projected to Win Most Games Next Season

The Ravens had the best record in the league this past season and the oddsmakers believe they'll remain one of the elite teams this coming season.

Baltimore, the two-time defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, and defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are all projected to win a league-high 11.5 games in odds released by DraftKings.

In the AFC North, the Cincinnati Bengals (10.5) are right behind the Ravens, followed by the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, who are both at 8.5.

ESPN Pundit Expects Ravens to Pursue Veteran Guard Laken Tomlinson

ESPN's Bill Barnwell identified the teams with the biggest roster holes, and the Ravens made the list for an offensive line that has lost three starters this offseason.

Barnwell expects the Ravens to address the issue by signing a veteran free agent offensive lineman (or two) "at the right time."

"They can wait until after June 1 to sign players, which would be the point where the compensatory formula locks and additions don't impact the draft picks," Barnwell wrote. "They can also sign players who were cut by other teams, which led me to one possible addition: former Jets and 49ers guard Laken Tomlinson, who was a cap casualty in New York.

"Tomlinson, 32, wasn't sustainable for the Jets with a $12 million base salary, but he wouldn't land anywhere near that amount in free agency, and the Ravens still have about $14 million in cap space. With such uncertainty looming at left guard, I'd be surprised if they didn't at least have a serious conversation about trying to bring in Tomlinson, who rated as an above-average guard as recently as 2022."

As has been previously noted, it's considered a deep draft class for offensive linemen, and the Ravens also have several in-house options for starting roles.

WR Josh Reynolds, Who Reportedly Visited Ravens, Said to Be Signing With Broncos

Wide receiver Josh Reynolds, who reportedly visited the Ravens last week, is signing a two-year deal worth up to $14 million with the Denver Broncos, according to Schefter.

Reynolds, 29, caught 40 passes for 608 yards and five touchdowns with the Detroit Lions this past season. During his seven-year career with the Los Angeles Rams, Tennessee Titans and Lions, Reynolds has 220 catches for 2,933 yards and 19 touchdowns.

Another veteran wide receiver who reportedly visited the Ravens last week, former Dallas Cowboy Michael Gallup, remains unsigned. Gallup, 28, caught 34 passes for 418 yards and two touchdowns last season. He posted a career-high 1,107 yards and six touchdowns in 2019.

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