After a thrilling SuperBowl 54, the NFL off-season is officially now underway. Teams begin to prep for free agency and the NFL Draft, aiming to make the improvements they need to make a SuperBowl run next season. The Baltimore Ravens have some impending free agents, and this article will outline the three biggest free agents on their roster.
According to Spotrac the Ravens will have $26.5m in cap space but have 23 free agents about to hit the open market. The Ravens can add roughly $15-18m in cap space by making some roster moves, but it will nevertheless be impossible to keep all 23 players. Let’s see who the three most important are.
Matt Judon – Linebacker
Matt Judon has improved every year with the Ravens since they drafted him in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft. This season he has stepped up at the perfect time and is now set for a big payday.
His 9.5 sacks have been vital for a Ravens defensive line that has struggled to generate pressure all season. He’s been a leader of their defense and is now valued by Spotrac to be worth $16m a year. With such limited cap space, it’s unlikely Baltimore can keep him, much like with Za’Darius Smith last season.
Jimmy Smith – Cornerback
Jimmy Smith has been a mainstay of the Ravens secondary for almost a decade now, but his time could be up in Baltimore. Smith has been excellent for the Ravens since they drafted him in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, however, he has struggled with injuries and suspensions in his career.
He’s only played a full season twice in his nine-year career and will be 32 by July. The Ravens have excellent depth in the secondary, so the Ravens may not fight massively to keep Smith. His play on the field is still high quality, but the Ravens may elect to let him walk unless they can re-sign him to a team-friendly deal.
Michael Pierce – Defensive Tackle
The third key Ravens free agent is defensive tackle, Michael Pierce. Pierce, along with Brandon Williams, has developed into a force in Baltimore. With a combined weight of 645 pounds, they are key to a Ravens defense that is very good at stopping the run.
Although the market for a run-stuffing defensive tackle is smaller than most, Pierce still has a chance of a lucrative contract. He is another undrafted free agent gem discovered by Baltimore. Baltimore will have a better chance to keep him, as long as they can roughly match what other teams offer him. This should be around $5-7m a year.
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