Takeaways From Ravens' Quiet First Day of Free Agency
While several teams were making a splash on a frenzied first day of free agency, the Ravens were treading water. Baltimore did not agree to terms with any outside free agents or any of its own.
It might be frustrating for Ravens fans to see players on their wish lists headed elsewhere, but the team's inactivity on Day 1 shouldn't be surprising.
"If you are taken aback by the fact that the Ravens have yet to get on the free-agent board, you probably haven't studied or followed how Ozzie Newsome and his successor, Eric DeCosta, have approached free agency," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "They typically take a backseat in the early hours of free agency, often waiting for the prices to come down."
Zrebiec noted that markets for positions the Ravens are expected to target in free agency —offensive tackle, safety, edge rusher and inside linebacker — didn't move much yesterday.
"It was always unlikely that the Ravens were going to do much more than sign a couple of outside free agents and then re-sign a handful of their own players," Zrebiec wrote. "That's just what their cap situation calls for and how they've always done things. They have to be selective.
"And the areas where you figured they'd spend in free agency have been lightly touched, leaving plenty of opportunities for DeCosta to jump on Tuesday and perhaps even later this week."
Although the Ravens didn't make any headlines themselves on Day 1, there were some newsworthy developments that could impact the team:
Ravens Reportedly Interested Za'Darius Smith, Pursued Emmanuel Ogbah
It appears the Ravens are in the market for a big-name edge rusher.
After the Green Bay Packers released former Ravens outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith yesterday, it was reported that the Ravens are one of multiple teams already pursuing him.
The Ravens reportedly made a run at Emmanuel Ogbah, one of the top edge rushers on the market, but he opted to remain with the Miami Dolphins (four years, $65 million).
"We had a lot of teams in the mix, but when it came down to it, I didn't want to move," Ogbah said.
The only other top-tier edge rusher to agree to a deal was Haason Reddick (three years, $45 million with the Philadelphia Eagles).
"It's going to take a lot more than expressing interest for the Ravens to land Smith or one of the other top remaining edge rushers on the market," Zrebiec wrote. "They're going to have to be willing to write a big check. However, they'll have opportunities to do just that.
In addition to Smith, top edge rushers still available include Von Miller, Chandler Jones, Jadeveon Clowney, Randy Gregory and Melvin Ingram.
Did Odds of a Bradley Bozeman Reunion Increase?
Three of the top free agent centers — Ryan Jensen, Ben Jones and Brian Allen — are reportedly re-signing with their teams. That leaves Bradley Bozeman as the top center still available.
The consensus before the start of free agency was Bozeman was likely headed elsewhere, but could he follow the trend and stay put?
"The Ravens have been acting like a team that was comfortable moving on and giving [Patrick] Mekari or Trystan Colon, or perhaps an early-round draft pick an opportunity to win the starting center job. However, it seemingly makes a lot of sense to see if there's a deal with Bozeman to be made," Zrebiec wrote.
The question is whether it would make financial sense to re-sign Bozeman.
David Carr: It Would 'Make a Lot of Sense' if Tyrann Mathieu Signs With Ravens
It remains to be seen whether Baltimore will pursue safety Tyrann Mathieu, who is high on the wish lists of a lot of Ravens fans, but it's almost certain the four-time Pro Bowler won't be re-signing with Kansas City. The Chiefs reportedly agreed to terms with safety Justin Reid on a three-year, $31.5 million deal.
NFL Network's David Carr said Mathieu to the Ravens makes a lot of sense.
"You think about [the AFC North], they're going to have to compete against the Cincinnati Bengals, who were in the Super Bowl last year; you need a heady, smart secondary guy that can line people up but also do a multiplicity of things, so I really like him with the Ravens," Carr said.
Pundits Says Lamar Jackson Could Rewrite QB Pay Scale If He Takes Kirk Cousins' Approach
With quarterback Kirk Cousins reportedly agreeing to a one-year contract extension with the Minnesota Vikings for $35 million, NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal said it was savvy of Cousins to never take a long-term contract offer from Washington early in his career, and a top-tier quarterback such as Lamar Jackson "would re-write the position's pay scale" if he were to follow Cousins' approach.
"Cousins continues to wield an incredible amount of power for a mid-level, slightly-above-average starting quarterback," Rosenthal wrote. " … If Cousins can have this much leverage, just imagine what a true top-10 quarterback could do.
"It's why Lamar Jackson's rumored plan to play out his fifth-year option, get the franchise tag a few times and eventually hit free agency makes a lot of sense, if the 25-year-old former MVP is willing to take the risk."