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Late for Work 8/31: How Four Key Roster Decisions Could Play Out This Week

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QB Trace McSorley

How Four Key Roster Decisions Could Play Out This Week

With the Ravens having to make 21 moves by 4 p.m. today to get their roster to 53, The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec identified 10 issues the Ravens will need to address before the deadline.

Here's a look at four of them, along with Zrebiec's analysis:

What happens with QB Trace McSorley?

"Trace McSorley returned to practice Monday, which, assuming he has no physical setbacks, takes [Injured Reserve] scenarios out of play. Tyler Huntley has clearly established himself as the Ravens' No. 2 quarterback, so the decision-making with McSorley is pretty simple: If the Ravens want a third quarterback on the 53-man roster, they'll keep him. If the Ravens believe he's more a luxury than a necessity, they'll cut him, hope he clears waivers and try to re-sign him to their practice squad. The bet here is that the Ravens will go with the latter option, believing there are too many other guys they'll want to keep to find space for a third quarterback."

How many of their promising young defensive backs can the Ravens keep?

"Based on everything I've heard inside and outside the building, the Ravens are trying hard to find space for three of their young defensive backs who are perceived to be on the roster bubble: cornerbacks Chris Westry and Nigel Warrior and safety Ar'Darius Washington. The Ravens believe all three are likely to get claimed on waivers after they performed well over the summer. They feel all three have done enough good things to have earned a spot on the 53-man roster. The problem is that it's extremely hard to keep 12 or 13 defensive backs without hurting yourself at another roster spot.

"It will be interesting to see if they're able to keep two or even all three of Westry, Warrior and Washington. I suspect Westry is the most likely to stick. By the way, you'll notice that I didn't mention safety Geno Stone in that group, and that's by design. My guess is he's pretty much a lock as really the only natural safety the Ravens have beyond starters Chuck Clark and DeShon Elliott."

What will WR Rashod Bateman's roster designation be and how will it affect other players?

"If the Ravens think a guy like Bateman is still three to four weeks away, going the IR route makes perfect sense. The problem is you have to cut someone Tuesday to make sure you can keep Bateman on the roster. That's where veterans like Anthony Levine Sr. and Pernell McPhee potentially come in. As vested veterans, they are not subject to the waiver process if they're let go. So the Ravens can release them with the understanding that they'll be re-signed a day or two later to a contract similar to the one they were going to play the 2021 season under anyway. "

Is there room for WR Miles Boykin?

"To me, Boykin is the biggest wild card Tuesday. First of all, he hasn't practiced since Aug. 2 because of a hamstring injury and he didn't appear as far along as Marquise Brown in recent weeks when they'd do their on-field running and conditioning work. So, the Ravens' decision on him will obviously be affected by how close he is to a return. But the question remains: Did he have a fit on the team even before his injury? My guess is yes, but I don't have much confidence in that answer. It wouldn't shock me if the Ravens moved on, simply because they have — or at least they will have when guys get healthier — more explosive receiver options. However, I've sort of been operating under the assumption that they'll keep him, only because he offers some diversity from the rest of the receiving group."

Five Ravens Make ESPN's Top 100 Players Rankings

Lamar Jackson (No. 24) and Marlon Humphrey (No. 38) were the only Ravens to make the NFL Top 100 Players, a list determined by player voting.

Baltimore fared much better in ESPN's rankings of the top 100 players. Five Ravens made the list, which was determined by a panel of more than 50 NFL experts. Emphasis was placed solely on expectations for the upcoming season and predicting potential greatness, rather than past performance, career résumé or positional value.

Jackson led the way at No. 22, and was followed by Ronnie Stanley (No. 37), Humphrey (No. 49), Marcus Peters (No. 57) and Mark Andrews (No. 98).

On a sidenote, former Raven and current Kansas City Chief Orlando Brown Jr. was No. 100.

Would Ravens Consider Signing a Veteran RB Who Gets Cut?

In the wake of J.K. Dobbins' season-ending knee injury, Head Coach John Harbaugh said he has "full confidence" in the team's running backs, specifically Gus Edwards, Ty'Son Williams and Justice Hill.

The Ravens still could sign a veteran running back if the right player was available at the right price. Names such as Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell and LeSean McCoy have been bandied about as options, although the Ravens reportedly aren't interested in pursuing Gurley, who visited the team a couple months ago.

"I don't think a free agent like Todd Gurley or Le'Veon Bell make the slightest bit of sense, but I do think the Ravens will watch for other teams to make cuts and find the third back in the group based on that crop, assumingly a guy willing to work on a 1-year deal to boost future stock and find a new home in 2022," Russell Street Report's Adam Bonaccorsi wrote. "Could that be a Latavius Murray or Devonta Freeman from New Orleans? What about Jaylen Samuels or Benny Snell in Pittsburgh (not sure they'll keep Najee Harris, McFarlan, Snell and Samuels there)? By the end of the week I think we'll have a clear answer."

Seahawk Maven's Ty Dane Gonzalez pondered whether the Ravens would be interested in trading a late-round pick for Seattle's Rashad Penny or Alex Collins, who played for the Ravens in 2017 and 2018.

"Penny, a first-round selection in 2018, doesn't appear to have a clear spot on Seattle's roster following the impressive preseasons of Collins and DeeJay Dallas," Gonzalez wrote. "He's in the final year of his contract and missed a considerable amount of time in training camp due to a thigh injury."

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