The Baltimore Ravens were the most dynamic team in the NFL last season but fell in the divisional round of the play-offs. Their loss to the Tennessee Titans exposed the team’s frailties, something they have worked to rectify this off-season. They have made several free-agent signings so far.
The Ravens traded for defensive end Calais Campbell in March and were close to signing defensive tackle Michael Brockers. When that deal fell through, they turned to defensive end Derek Wolfe. According to Ravens salary cap expert Brian McFarland @RavensSalaryCap Baltimore only has $6.965 million in cap space, so here are some budget free-agent options they could sign to push them towards a SuperBowl run.
Clay Matthews A Star Name Free Agent
Clay Matthews has been a defensive star since entering the NFL in 2009 but is now entering the final portion of his career. The L.A Rams released the 34-year old in March, only a year after signing a two-year $9.25 million deal. The move was a surprising one, as Matthews had a productive 2019 season.
In 13 games, he had eight sacks and 33 combined tackles. Matthews is coming off jaw surgery and remains unsigned. Baltimore needs pass rush help with the future of Matt Judon and Pernell McPhee unclear past this season. They won’t be able to offer a contract paying more than $3 million a year, but the chance to earn another SuperBowl ring could convince him.
Jared Veldheer A Veteran Free Agent Option
Baltimore’s offensive line was a top-five unit last season, but they need added depth at certain positions. The Ravens have two Pro Bowl young tackles in Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. but lack depth. Andre Smith is their only reserve option.
Recent draft pick Tyre Phillips was a college tackle but is projected to kick inside in the NFL. Jared Veldheer could be a veteran option for the Ravens. The 33-year old retired in 2019 but came back to sign for the Green Bay Packers late in the season.
He’s a ten-year vet that could help mentor the young tackles. Veldheer has ideal size at 6-8 321 pounds and earned a solid 69.2 PFF grade in the two games he played. He is entering the declining years of his career, but Veldheer can be a valuable depth piece for a veteran minimum salary.
Could Ed Dickson Return to Ravens?
Tight end is a vital position in this Ravens offense, with Mark Andrews their leading receiving last season with 852 yards. The team traded former first-round pick, Hayden Hurst, in March, and have yet to fill the third tight end role.
A veteran free agent that the team could sign is 33-year old Ed Dickson. Dickson was drafted by the Ravens in 2010 and enjoyed his most productive year in Baltimore. The Seattle Seahawks released him in March after missing the entire 2019 season with a knee injury.
Dickson is a good blocker but can also be a receiving threat. If he can show he’s recovered from his knee injury, he could be a savvy off-season signing by Baltimore. He would fill the third tight end role, all on a veteran minimum salary.
Morgan Burnett An Option At Safety?
The Baltimore secondary is one of the best in the NFL. However, they could use some veteran depth at safety. Behind Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark, there’s only Anthony Levine Sr, primarily a special teams player. The rest are young and unproven.
Morgan Burnett could be a shrewd option for the Ravens. He’s a ten-year vet with experience at both strong and free safety. He’s a Swiss army knife who plays with a physical style that mirrors the Ravens. Burnett is recovering from a torn Achilles, and this may be what pushes him into Baltimore’s limited price range.
That wraps up this look at some potential late free agent moves that could really pay off for the Ravens. What do you think of these moves? Let me know in the comment section below. For the latest sports news follow the home page here and the NFL news page here. Also, be sure to check out our forum pages here for 24/7 sports discussion.