The Ravens are looking to bounce back after an injury filled year sank the team to an 8-9 record and out of the playoffs completely. With the team coming back healthy, most feel Baltimore has the talent to make a run at the Super Bowl. Free agency could be just what the Ravens need to get there.
Boasting a slew of superstars on both sides of the ball, such as quarterback Lamar Jackson and defensive back Marlon Humphrey, the Ravens are a stacked team. However, the Ravens aren’t without their weakness and will certainly use free agency to help shore up those glaring holes on the roster.
Listed below are seven free agents the Ravens could target in free agency that will help strengthen those weaknesses on both sides of the ball. It should be noted that not every player on this list is an unrestricted free agent, but are rumored to be released within the coming weeks. Let’s take a look at some potential future Ravens!
Baltimore Ravens Free Agency Wishlist
Tyrann Mathieu, S
The Ravens have been searching for a play-making safety since the departure of Hall of Famer Ed Reed. Taking several swings at the issue, the Ravens have routinely missed. High draft picks such as Matt Elam (2013) and Terrance Brooks (2014) have not panned out, and several free agent additions have only ended in failure. In fact, Baltimore is still reeling from the large contract the team gave to Earl Thomas.
Tyrann Mathieu has a chance to change that unfortunate trend. The “Honey Badger” is still playing at a high caliber and would be a tremendous asset for a Baltimore secondary that produced too few big plays last season.
The Ravens got an up close and personal look at Mathieu in a week two victory over the visiting Kansas City Chiefs. In that game, Mathieu hauled in two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. While he certainly won’t come cheap, Mathieu would certainly be well worth the investment.
There seems to be plenty of desire by Mathieu to come to the Ravens in free agency. Combining him with the returning Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters would give Baltimore a terrifying defensive backfield.
Chiefs are happy Tyrann Mathieu is back 😅— PFF (@PFF) September 20, 2021
Ryan Jensen, C
This signing is completely dependent on what the Ravens are wanting to do at center. Bradley Bozeman was phenomenal as the team’s starter in his first full year at center in the NFL. But, he is a free agent and will certainly command a substantial contract.
The Ravens also have plenty of in-house options. Patrick Mekari recently inked a 3-year extension and has shown the versatility to play every spot along the line, but may be best suited at center. Trystan Colon-Castillo has started a handful of games and while he didn’t “wow” anyone, he proved to be a solid option. Also, the 2022 NFL draft is deep with centers and the Ravens may just go that route.
However, if the Ravens want to add some nastiness to the middle of their line, they could turn to a familiar face in Ryan Jensen. A Raven from 2013-2017, Jensen signed a big contract with the Buccaneers in 2018 and earned a Pro Bowl selection in 2021.
Jensen is still a popular player in Baltimore due to his toughness and willingness to get into scraps. He would certainly be an unrelenting road grader for a Ravens team that loves to grind the ball. A team leader and respected locker room leader, Jensen may very well end up being an upgrade over Bozeman.
Trent Brown, RT
The need Baltimore has along the offensive line was made painfully obvious in a week one loss to the Raiders. The Raiders applied unrelenting pressure on Lamar Jackson, and it never let up all season long. Franchise left tackle Ronnie Stanley would miss the rest of the year after that, and the rest of the line would remain an absolute mess.
It is clear that the Ravens need to make substantial investments along the line, especially right tackle. Trent Brown could be a big target for Baltimore. Though Brown is hardly the picture of a clean bill of health himself, he has proven to be one of the best right tackles in the league when he has been on the field.
Standing at 6’8, 380 lbs, Brown is a monster of a human being who would fit in well with the type of bullying the Ravens want from their offensive linemen. While his health is certainly a concern, there is no denying that Brown can make a massive difference for an ailing Baltimore offensive line. Protecting Lamar Jackson should be top on the priority list for the Ravens in free agency. Brown would go a long way towards doing that.
Za’Darius Smith, EDGE
Though not officially a free agent as of right now, it is widely assumed that the Green Bay Packers will release Za’Darius Smith in the coming weeks due to his massive cap hit in 2022. Smith missed most of last season due to injury, appearing only in one game in 2021. The Packers may not feel Smith is worth his substantial contract.
If the Packers do indeed release Smith, expect Baltimore to be on the phone with the star pass-rusher. A 4th round pick by the Ravens in 2015, Smith signed a large contract with the Green Bay Packers in 2019, where he posted 13.5 sack and 12.5 sacks in 2019 and 2020, respectively. The Ravens have a glaring need at pass-rusher. While Baltimore did use a 1st round pick on EDGE Odafe Oweh in 2021, adding some more juice in that area can only help.
If he’s healthy, Smith can still play at a high level and would be a massive boon for his former team.
Bobby Wagner, MLB
After 10 years of outstanding production in Seattle, middle linebacker Bobby Wagner was released by the Seahawks on the 9th of March. The move saved nearly $16 million for Seattle as the Seahawks look to be in a rebuild. But Wagner’s release was not without its controversy. Players and fans of different teams alike took to social media to recruit the potential future Hall of Fame linebacker to their defense.
Though he is drawing interest from plenty of suitors, the Ravens should not hesitate acquiring the services of the eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker. The Ravens have had a need at inside linebacker for some time now. They would only benefit from an addition like Bobby Wagner.
Patrick Queen, the team’s 1st round draft pick in 2020, took major strides for Baltimore last season when he was shifted from MIKE to WILL and playing next to veteran Josh Bynes. While Queen continues to improve, having a defensive general like Wagner to command the defense will help a young linebacking corps while giving the Ravens tremendous production at the position
DJ Jones, IDL
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said in a recent press conference he wants the team to get younger along the defensive line. That isn’t good news for pending free agents Calais Campbell (35) and Brandon Williams (33). While Campbell played like a maniac for the Ravens last season, it is unclear if there is a willingness to bring him back.
Williams, who had a down season after being the highest paid nose tackle in 2021, will certainly hit the open market. If the Ravens are serious about replenishing the talent along the defensive line and bringing about a needed youth movement, there is one player that should quickly come to mind.
DJ Jones enjoyed a tremendous breakout season for the San Francisco 49ers in 2021. Jones (age 27) is a young and stout defensive tackle who made the most of his opportunities in 2021. Accumulating two sacks, 20 quarterback pressures and 10 tackles for a loss (the latter two being career highs), Jones earned himself a nice paycheck.
As one of the league’s most efficient interior pass rushers, Jones would be a massive addition for the Ravens. Outside of Campbell, Baltimore has lacked that true difference maker along the defensive line since Haloti Ngata. Jones can come in and add some explosiveness to the defensive front. He will certainly command a large contract — and rightfully so — but Jones is a player the Ravens should explore in free agency.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR
While the Ravens have invested plenty into the wide receiver position over the last few years, Ravens fans are still wanting more. There seems to be a missing piece in this receiving corps, and that is a deep threat who can reel in those deep passes. The Ravens have plenty of speed, but Baltimore’s inability to connect on those deep passes over the last few years has been maddening.
That is what Marquez Valdez-Scantling brings to the table. Valdez-Scantling is one of the best deep ball trackers in the NFL, averaging 17.5 yards per reception over his four-year career. Having that proven deep threat would do wonders for Lamar Jackson and Baltimore’s passing game as a whole. At 6’4, 205 lbs, Valdez-Scantling even has the added bonus of great size, as well.