Skip to main content
Presented by

50 Words or Less: Ravens Are Going Running Back Shopping

From left: Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Titans RB Derrick Henry, Giants RB Saquon Barkley
From left: Raiders RB Josh Jacobs, Titans RB Derrick Henry, Giants RB Saquon Barkley

Grab your recyclable bags because it's time to go shopping.

Free agency kicks off Monday with the "legal tampering" period, and officially opens Wednesday at 4 p.m.

Baltimore already got off to a roaring start by agreeing to a mega four-year contract extension with defensive tackle Justin Madubuike on Friday, which gave the Ravens more spending power.

As I wrote last week, Iexpect the Ravens to be patientand focus much of their efforts on retaining their own free agents. The exception could be at running back, where some of the top names in the game are on the market.

Here's what to expect this week:

Saquon Barkley, Derrick Henry, Josh Jacobs and more. It's a shopper's paradise at running back and it's likely not that expensive compared to other positions. I expect the Ravens to be active in negotiations, perhaps on multiple fronts, and strike if the price is right (maybe under $10 million average).

Who is the best fit among the big three? The Ravens surely have their rankings, even if they believe multiple would be an upgrade. Henry's physicality seems to fit Baltimore's style best and complement Lamar Jackson's speed/shiftiness. Barkley comes with durability and explosiveness questions but is the most well-rounded threat.

The biggest drawback of Henry is obviously his age and wear and tear. He's 30, with than 2,000 career rushes. However, Henry has proven to be the exception to the running back breakdown rule, and judging by his workouts, he doesn't seem to be slowing down this offseason.

Ultimately, if the Ravens don't land one of the top three running backs, they still have good options. D'Andre Swift topped 1,000 yards and is 25. Tony Pollard could be right player, right price. If Baltimore doesn't sign any, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards will likely still be out there.

The markets for the Ravens' own free agents may not be as hot as expected. Patrick Queen is going to get paid. Outside of him, it could be slow to develop for guys such as Geno Stone, Jadeveon Clowney, and Kyle Van Noy. The safety and outside linebacker markets are loaded.

The recent spate of cuts at safety around the league has made it tougher for Stone and a return to Baltimore more likely. I still expect Stone finds another team willing to make him a starter, even if it's not with the salary he was hoping for, but fingers crossed.

Clowney and Van Noy chilled on the market last offseason and may do so again. They're in no rush and fit matters a lot. It feels like both would prefer to come back, but they both want to be rewarded for their career 2023 years. Can the Ravens afford it?

NFL Media's Gregg Rosenthal shares his list of the top 101 free agents in the 2024 free agent class.

The outside linebacker market feels like one the Ravens could play in. There are a lot of talented players out there, which means Baltimore could find a bargain early on or still have alluring options in the second or third wave. Multiple free agents also have ties to Chuck Smith.

The guard market is thin and expensive. John Simpson is ranked's fourth-best on the market. Kevin Dotson, who is ranked No. 6, already got a three-year, $48 million extension. Kevin Zeitler is ranked as the 10th-best interior lineman. A low-cost veteran guard seems right but might be hard to find.

It wouldn't surprise me if the Ravens wait until after the draft to make a move at guard. They have Ben Cleveland, Sala Aumavae-Laulu and Andrew Vorhees and will probably draft another guard considering the strength of the position. Patrick Mekari provides a safety net. Baltimore can wait and see.

The Ravens will not sign or trade for one of the big-name wide receivers. You can scratch that off your list right now. If you think guards are expensive, the receiver deals will make you blush. The Ravens will add via the well-stocked draft and maybe a summer veteran.

Related Content