Ravens Reportedly Offered Bobby Wagner More Guaranteed Money Than Rams
There's no place like home.
That phrase sums up why Los Angeles native Bobby Wagner ultimately chose to sign with the Rams instead of the Ravens, who apparently offered the six-time first-team All-Pro inside linebacker more guaranteed money.
Wagner reportedly visited the Ravens and Rams during free agency and had narrowed his decision to one of those teams.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said "the Ravens impressed him," but Wagner wanted to stay on the West Coast. Getting to face his former team, the Seattle Seahawks, twice a season also played a role in Wagner's decision.
"I really wanted to be happy, and I wanted to be close to home, and stay on the West Coast," Wagner said at his introductory press conference yesterday. "That was important to me, but playing the Seahawks twice a year was the cherry on top."
It was reported on Friday that Wagner agreed to a five-year, $50 million deal with the Rams. However, Rapoport said: "Functionally, it's a two-year deal worth $17.5M in base salary with a chance to make $23.5M with incentives."
NFL Network's Mike Garafolo reported that Wagner will receive $10 million fully guaranteed next season — a $6.5 million base salary plus a $3.5 million roster bonus.
The Ravens reportedly offered Wagner a two-year deal worth $18.5 million, all of which was fully guaranteed, according to Pro Football Talk.
Losing out on a player of Wagner's caliber is disappointing, but it's hard to find fault with General Manager Eric DeCosta's approach.
The Ravens made Wagner a strong offer, but if a player wants to stay close to home, there's not much one can do about it except perhaps overpay. However, doing that for a player who turns 32 before next season — even one still playing at a high level such as Wagner — wouldn't have been prudent.
Ravens Receive an Additional First-Round Pick in Draft Trade Scenario
A few days before last year's draft, the Ravens sent Orlando Brown Jr. to the Chiefs in a deal that included Baltimore receiving Kansas City's first-round pick.
Could the two teams make another deal involving a first-round pick before the upcoming draft?
NFL.com draft analyst Chad Reuter proposed a trade in which the Ravens would send their first-round pick (14th overall) and a fourth-rounder (110th overall) to the Chiefs in exchange for Kansas City's two first-round picks (29th and 30th overall).
"To even out the trade in terms of pick value, Baltimore gladly sends over one of its five fourth-round selections," Reuter wrote. "It's a win-win situation for these teams, with the Chiefs maintaining the same number of picks and the Ravens gaining value while still getting two excellent players (say, Clemson cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. and Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum) on Thursday night."
The Ravens have only had a top-14 pick twice in the past 16 years, so it's understandable if Ravens fans balk at the team moving back, but it's hard to argue with a scenario that nets the team a second first-round pick, especially if those picks turned out to be Booth and Linderbaum.
Losing Chris Westry Reinforces Ravens' Need To Select a Cornerback Early in the Draft
It was noted in Late for Work last week that a draft analyst believes passing on a cornerback in the first round is the one mistake the Ravens must avoid making in the draft.
That was before cornerback Chris Westry signed with the Carolina Panthers yesterday, which further depleted the Ravens' depth at the position.
The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec said it feels inevitable that the Ravens come out of Day 1 or 2 of the draft with a cornerback.
"The Ravens need four starting-caliber cornerbacks, plus a few serviceable depth options, and right now they have [Marcus] Peters, [Marlon] Humphrey and a handful of guys who spent last season on the practice squad or injured reserve," Zrebiec wrote.
In Zrebiec's mock draft, he doesn't have the Ravens selecting a cornerback in the first round (he mocked outside linebacker Jermaine Johnson II to Baltimore at No. 14), but he does have them drafting Washington cornerback Kyler Gordon in the second round (45th overall).
"I believe the Ravens would love to select a corner [in the first round], but Cincinnati's Ahmad Gardner will almost certainly be gone and LSU's Derek Stingley Jr. probably won't be available either," Zrebiec wrote. "[Washington cornerback Trent] McDuffie is a good prospect, but he doesn't fit the size prototype that the Ravens typically look for with early-round corners."
Gordon, McDuffie's teammate in Washington's secondary, possesses the qualities the Ravens love in their cornerbacks, Zrebiec said.
"He's an elite athlete with a nice combination of size, speed and physicality," Zrebiec wrote. "He has some swagger to his game and makes plays in coverage, against the run and as a blitzer. His ability to play outside or in the slot would give the Ravens much-needed matchup options. Gordon is a candidate to go in Round 1, so it might be a little ambitious to pencil him in at this spot, but a sluggish performance at the NFL Scouting Combine could factor."
Edge Rusher Prospect George Karlaftis: 'I Would Love to Be a Raven'
Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis, who has been linked with the Ravens in some recent mock drafts (including The Baltimore Sun’s C.J. Doon), said there is mutual interest between him and the team.
"I actually had a meeting with a few people from the Ravens organization last week," Karlaftis said on 105.7 The Fan. "I know there's interest on their part. Obviously, I would love to be a Raven."
Karlaftis said the NFL player he is comparable to is six-time Pro Bowler Khalil Mack of the Los Angeles Chargers.
"He does a lot of speed to power just like I do," Karlaftis said.