Mailbag: Will the Ravens Bring Back Their Own Free Agents?

Left: C Bradley Bozeman against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday, January 9, 2021; Right: DT Calais Campbell against the Los Angeles Rams in Baltimore, MD on Sunday, January 2, 2021.

Mink: According to Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland, the Ravens are projected to have just over $7 million in salary cap space on March 16 when free agency opens. Not having a contract extension done with Lamar Jackson means that, as of now, they don't have a whole lot of room to do much in free agency.

I think the Ravens would like to bring back Bradley Bozeman and Patrick Ricard, but at this point, it seems like both might be testing the market to see what kind of deal comes around. Bozeman reportedly has multiple interested suitors. Ricard is a bit of a unicorn in the league, so many teams wouldn't even consider him. That could make a return to Baltimore ultimately the best option.

There's obviously mutual interest between the Ravens and Calais Campbell in a reunion and I would expect that's one that could get done before he hits the market. Campbell doesn't strike me as a guy trying to maximize his price as much as looking for the best fit to end his career.

For Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort, I think all parties can wait and see with hopes of a return. As seen with Bobby Wagner's release from Seattle, there will be veterans hitting the market and I don't think Bynes and Fort are guys who are going to be scooped up as soon as free agency opens.

Brown: I don't think the Ravens are giving any consideration to trading Lamar Jackson. He has already been a unanimous MVP of the league. He's 25 years old, younger than Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. He has a 37-12 record as a starter. The Ravens played valiantly without Jackson for the final four games last season, but didn't win any of them. At his best, Jackson is a quarterback capable of carrying an offense, just like Russell Wilson. There aren't many of those guys. The Seahawks got a lot in exchange for Wilson, but now they don't have a proven quarterback, and it's going to be hard for them to reach a Super Bowl until they find one. The Broncos, meanwhile, are suddenly being viewed as a potential contender in the AFC. Why? Because they have Wilson. Look at what Burrow did for the Bengals. Look at what Matthew Stafford did for the Rams. Jackson is an impact player, and there's still plenty of time for the Ravens to reach a long-term agreement with him. As my colleague John Eisenberg wrote, I'm not feeling the Jackson contract drama. I believe it will get done.

Brown: I think the Ravens will stay put at No. 14. But that's a good question, because the Ravens are also in good position to trade back. If they stay at No. 14, some talented players who could still be on the board include Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis, LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., Michigan edge rusher David Ojabo and Georgia defensive tackle Devonte Wyatt. However, if they trade back a few spots and get an extra pick, they could still end up with one of the players I just mentioned, or perhaps someone like Utah inside linebacker Devin Lloyd. I was impressed with Lloyd's intellect when I asked him a few questions last week at the NFL Scouting Combine, and his versatility could be a great fit in new Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald's scheme. I'm thinking that Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner, Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning and Georgia defensive tackle Jordan Davis will be off the board at No. 14 after their impressive showings at the Combine. But whether the Ravens stay put or trade back, they should get a player who will help them immediately.

Mink: As much as I loved watching a pair of fellow Terps light it up at the Combine, I'm not sure they're the best fit for the Ravens' needs. As for 6-foot-2, 238-pound Chig Okonkwo, Baltimore has traditionally been a team that likes bigger guys. Hayden Hurst was on the "smaller" side and he's 6-foot-4, 260 pounds. As for Nick Cross, despite his blazing speed, there are questions about how "oily" those hips are to be a rangy in coverage. Cross's biggest statement in college was as a forceful downhill hitter. Ideally, I think the Ravens would like to find someone more of a centerfielder to add to the secondary.

Now, for Georgia defensive end Travon Walker, I do think he would be a great fit in Baltimore as a big, physical athletic freak. Walker showed he not only has a high floor, but also a high ceiling. My only concern is his Combine performance may have knocked him out of the Ravens' range at No. 14.

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