Zrebiec Predicts Who Stays, Who Goes Among Ravens' Top Free Agents
With the NFL free-agency period less than three weeks away, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec predicted the fate of the Ravens' 17 free agents.
Here's a look at five prominent players on the list along with Zrebiec's analysis:
OLB Tyus Bowser
"He's become a very valuable performer who makes plays in coverage, holds his own against the run, has some pass-rush ability and contributes on special teams. … He does fit well on Don 'Wink' Martindale's versatile defense and the Ravens have interest in keeping him. He'll be much cheaper than Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue, too. Verdict: Stays."
RB Gus Edwards
"A restricted free agent, the rugged and dependable Edwards could attract interest from other teams although the Ravens using the second-round tender on him most likely means that he'll be back. … The Ravens could also sign Edwards to an extension with a lower cap number for the coming season. Either way, he's a big part of what the Ravens do offensively and a strong complement to J.K. Dobbins, so they want to keep him. Verdict: Stays."
OLB Matthew Judon
"The organization has been reluctant to pay him as a top edge rusher long term and they probably don't have the cap space to tag him again at over $20 million. Unless Judon's market doesn't materialize like most expect it to, it's probably unlikely the Ravens can afford him. Verdict: Goes."
OLB Yannick Ngakoue
"Ngakoue played well at times, even if it didn't show up in his statistics. It just didn't seem like a great fit between player and team and the Ravens defensive staff clearly lacked some confidence in his ability to stop the run and embrace team defensive concepts. How else do you explain Ngakoue playing only 21 and 20 snaps in the two playoff games? Verdict: Goes."
DT Derek Wolfe
"His numbers at least from a pass-rushing standpoint don't stand out, but Wolfe delivered in his first season in Baltimore. … Wolfe has also said he wants to return. Ultimately, it will come down to price. The Ravens do have a replacement in Justin Madubuike if Wolfe doesn't return and they are reasonably tight against the cap. They're going to have to take a hit somewhere. Verdict: Stays."
Visit The Athletic for Zrebiec's full article.
Brian Baldinger: A Lot of Teams Would Consider Trading First-Round Pick for Orlando Brown Jr.
The prevailing thought is that it would take a first-round pick or two Day 2 picks for the Ravens to consider trading two-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. NFL Network's Brian Baldinger said he doesn't think it's unreasonable that a team would give up a first-round pick for Brown.
"He's not going to miss any games. He lines up every Sunday," Baldinger said on 105.7 The Fan. "He brings good attitude. I like his attitude game day. I like the fight that he brings. You gotta have at least one of those guys on the offensive line. I would certainly think about [trading a first-round pick for him]. I think a lot of teams might think about it, too, the way that he's played."
Baldinger agrees with the growing sentiment that Brown will be back in Baltimore at right tackle for the 2021 season. Brown, who played well at left tackle after All-Pro Ronnie Stanley suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8, has stated his desire to play left tackle going forward.
"Zeus is under contract, so it looks like Zeus is going back to right tackle if Ronnie's healthy," Baldinger said. "It's nice insurance to have if there are any setbacks between now and the start of the season for Ronnie Stanley."
Daniel Jeremiah Names Three WR Prospects Ravens Could Target
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah had the Ravens selecting Georgia edge rusher Azeez Ojular with the 27th-overall pick in his first mock draft and TCU safety Trevon Moehrig in his second, but he said there could be several wide receivers who would be a good fit for the Ravens when they make their first pick.
During an appearance on Glenn Clark Radio, Jeremiah said speedy Florida receiver Kadarius Toney would give the Ravens' another versatile playmaker. Jeremiah compared Toney to former Cincinnati Bengals All-Pro Chad Johnson.
"Kadarius Toney, to me, would be really, really fun to plug into that offense," Jeremiah said. "For lack of a better word, he's just got some funk when he gets to the top. He is explosive. You can use him a little bit in the backfield. You can flip him some jet sweeps. You can do a lot of different things with him. And I would think with the creative offense that the Ravens have, that'd be a pretty versatile chess piece who could be pretty darn dynamic."
If the Ravens are looking to draft a physical, outside receiver, Jeremiah said LSU's Terrace Marshall (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and Minnesota's Rashod Bateman (6-2, 210) fit the bill. ESPN’s Mel Kiper sent Marshall to the Ravens in both of his mock drafts.
Jeremiah ranked Marshall and Bateman as his 40th- and 46th-overall players, respectively, and said he could see the Ravens trading back to land one of them.
"Those would be interesting guys, and hey, that's not a bad idea if you're the Ravens," Jeremiah said. "Trade back, which they love to do, and get some extra picks and get one of those bigger wide receivers in the second round. [DK Metcalf and A.J. Brown] are two guys in that second-round club, which has been pretty darn impressive the last couple of years when you look at the receivers that have gone in round No. 2."
Is J.J. Watt Out of the Ravens' Price Range?
There's no question three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt typifies the "play like a Raven" mantra, but does the defensive end fit the team's "right player, right price" philosophy?
Watt, who mutually parted ways with the Texans two weeks ago, has received offers from several teams, with the best offer between $15 million-$16 million per year, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.
Baltimore has been listed as a potential landing spot for Watt, who played under new Ravens defensive line coach Anthony Weaver in Houston, but Ebony Bird’s Chris Schisler said Watt, who turns 32 next month, is out of the Ravens' price range if the reported numbers are accurate.
"Signing Watt would always have been a luxury, not necessarily a necessity," Schisler wrote. "If signing Watt would move the needle and get the Ravens into the Super Bowl, it would be a different story. If the Ravens had one or two needs and plenty of cap space it would be a different story. Right now though, the story is that the Ravens have enough for one big move in free agency and maybe an under-the-radar pickup to go with it."
Our John Eisenberg expressed a similar sentiment last week regarding Watt and the Ravens.
"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," Eisenberg wrote. "They already have big money invested in their defensive line with Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell. Their biggest expenditures need to go elsewhere."
There's been speculation that two of the Ravens' AFC North rivals — the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns — are in the mix for Watt. Watt's brothers T.J. and Derek play for the Steelers.
"If a team wants to overspend on Watt, the Ravens should stay out of the way. If he lands on a division rival's roster then so be it," Schisler wrote. "That's not a reason to make a move when you can't justify the price."