Ravens offseason primer: What you need to know about free agency, the draft and more

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C.J. Doon, The Baltimore Sun
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The Ravens’ season came to an abrupt end Saturday night in a 17-3 divisional-round to the Buffalo Bills. That means it’s time to look forward to the offseason, highlighted by the NFL draft and free agency.

Here’s what you need to know about the Ravens’ next few months:

What are the key dates to know?

The league has tentatively set its offseason schedule, which is subject to change because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Feb. 23-March 9: Franchise/transition player designation period

March 17: 2021 league year and free agency period begins at 4 p.m. ET

April 5: Start of offseason workouts for teams with new head coaches

April 19: Start of offseason workouts for teams with incumbent coaches

April 23: Last day of restricted free agent signing period

April 28: Last day to match offer sheets for RFAs

April 29-May 1: 2021 NFL draft

Who are the Ravens’ pending free agents?

The Ravens have 27 players set to hit the open market, according to Spotrac. Here is a closer look at some of the most important ones:

Outside linebacker Matthew Judon: Playing on the $16.8 million franchise tag, Judon had six sacks in 14 games during the regular season. However, his 32 pressures — which includes quarterback hurries, knockdowns and sacks — ranked 16th in the league. At age 29, he’ll be one of the most sought-after edge rushers in this free-agent class.

Outside linebacker/defensive end Yannick Ngakoue: Acquired in a midseason trade with the Vikings, the former Maryland star didn’t make much of an impact with the Ravens. He had just three sacks after joining the team in Week 8 and ranked 41st in the league in total pressures. However, at age 26, he’ll likely command a lucrative deal.

Wide receiver Willie Snead IV: Often overlooked, Snead proved to be a valuable security blanket for quarterback Lamar Jackson this season, catching 33 passes for 432 yards and three touchdowns. With another strong wide receiver class expected in this year’s draft and a few stars at the top of the free-agent market, 28-year-old could come back on a team-friendly deal.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III: After Tyler Huntley’s gutsy performance in Saturday night’s loss, is RGIII’s time up in Baltimore? Griffin completed eight of 14 passes for 42 yards and two interceptions and rushed 12 times for 69 yards this season, starting a 19-14 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 12 after Lamar Jackson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He’ll turn 31 just after the Super Bowl in February.

Defensive end Derek Wolfe: Brought in alongside Calais Campbell to help fortify the defensive front, Wolfe helped the Ravens run defense finish 12th in DVOA. The 31-year-old signed a one-year, $3 million deal last offseason.

Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser: Perhaps the most intriguing of the pending free-agent edge rushers, the former third-round pick played well in limited snaps this season, recording two sacks, three interceptions and 20 pressures. The 26-year-old might be ready for an expanded role and wouldn’t command a large salary like Judon or Ngakoue.

Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee: The veteran enjoyed one of his healthiest seasons as a pro, recording three sacks and 18 pressures in 15 games. The 32-year-old, coming off a one-year, $1.18 million deal, would provide valuable depth for the Ravens or another contender.

Running back Gus Edwards: The former undrafted free agent took over down the stretch alongside rookie J.K. Dobbins and was one of the league’s most efficient ball-carriers, rushing for 723 yards and six touchdowns. It’s hard to see him leaving this offseason.

Long snapper Morgan Cox: A longtime member of the “Wolfpack” alongside kicker Justin Tucker and punter Sam Koch, the 34-year-old was named to this fourth Pro Bowl this season.

Other free agents: DB Anthony Levine Sr., WR Chris Moore, OT D.J. Fluker, CB Tramon Williams, WR Dez Bryant, DE Jihad Ward, DT Justin Ellis, S Jordan Richards, TE Eric Tomlinson, WR DeAndrew White, P Johnny Townsend, CB Davontae Harris, C Trystan Colon-Castillo, WR Antoine Wesley, CB Khalil Dorsey, LB Kristian Welch, LB Chris Board

Are there any obvious cap casualties?

The only one who stands out is running back Mark Ingram II, who was a healthy scratch four of the past five weeks as the Ravens relied on Edwards and Dobbins. The Ravens would create $5 million in salary cap space by releasing Ingram, who signed a three-year, $15 million deal before the 2019 season.

Even with the salary cap projected to fall to around $175 million, the Ravens are projected to have approximately $26 million in cap space this offseason, according to Over The Cap.

When will the Ravens pick in the draft?

The Ravens will pick No. 27 overall in the 2021 NFL draft. The Ravens used the No. 28 overall pick last year to take LSU linebacker Patrick Queen.

According to Tankathon, the Ravens’ 2021 picks are as follows:

Round 2, No. 58 overall","type":"text

Round 4, No. 122 overall","type":"text

Round 5, No. 152 overall","type":"text

Round 6, No. 186 overall","type":"text

The Ravens traded their third-round (No. 90 overall) and fifth-round picks (No. 155 overall) to the Vikings for Ngakoue. The Ravens sent their seventh-round pick (No. 220 overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers along with defensive lineman Chris Wormley in March in exchange for a fifth-round pick (No. 152 overall).

The Ravens traded their third-round (No. 90 overall) and fifth-round picks (No. 155 overall) to the Vikings for Ngakoue. The Ravens sent their seventh-round pick (No. 220 overall) to the Pittsburgh Steelers along with defensive lineman Chris Wormley in March in exchange for a fifth-round pick (No. 152 overall).

The Ravens are projected to receive a compensatory fifth-round pick for losing defensive tackle Michael Pierce in free agency and a seventh-round pick for losing linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, according to Over The Cap.

Who might the Ravens target in free agency?

After finishing with the league’s 32nd-ranked passing unit and scoring just 23 points combined in two postseason games, the Ravens will likely look to upgrade at wide receiver. They also might seek help on the offensive line and edge rusher.

Here are some of the top players on the market at those positions:

WIDE RECEIVER

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin (age 25): 65 catches, 840 yards, seven touchdowns","type":"text

Pittsburgh Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (age 25): 97 catches, 831 yards, nine touchdowns","type":"text

Houston Texans WR Will Fuller V (age 27): 53 catches, 879 yards, eight touchdowns","type":"text

Detroit Lions WR Kenny Golladay (age 28): 20 catches, 338 yards, two touchdowns in five games (hip injury); 65 catches for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019","type":"text

Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis (age 26): 65 catches, 984 yards, five touchdowns","type":"text

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (age 31): 56 catches, 762 yards, five touchdowns","type":"text

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green (age 33): 47 catches, 523 yards, two touchdowns","type":"text

Denver Broncos WR Tim Patrick (age 28): 51 catches, 742 yards, six touchdowns","type":"text

Detroit Lions WR Marvin Jones (age 31): 76 catches, 978 yards, nine touchdowns","type":"text

Carolina Panthers WR Curtis Samuel (age 25): 77 catches, 871 yards, three touchdowns","type":"text

OFFENSIVE LINE

OFFENSIVE LINE

New England Patriots G Joe Thuney (age 29)","type":"text

Green Bay Packers C Corey Linsley (age 30)","type":"text

Atlanta Falcons C Alex Mack (age 36)","type":"text

Green Bay Packers G Lane Taylor (age 32)","type":"text

Los Angeles Rams C Austin Blythe (age 29)","type":"text

Miami Dolphins C Ted Karras (age 28)","type":"text

Buffalo Bills G Jon Feliciano (age 29)","type":"text

EDGE RUSHER

EDGE RUSHER

Tampa Bay Buccaneers OLB Shaquil Barrett (age 29): 8 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 41 pressures","type":"text

Los Angeles Chargers OLB Melvin Ingram (age 32): 0 sacks, 0 tackles for loss, 12 pressures in seven games (knee injury)","type":"text

Indianapolis Colts OLB Justin Houston (age 32): 8 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, 24 pressures","type":"text

Tennessee Titans DE Jadeveon Clowney (age 28): 0 sacks, 4 tackles for loss, 12 pressures in eight games (knee injury)","type":"text

Washington DE Ryan Kerrigan (age 33): 5.5 sacks, 5 tackles for loss, 13 pressures","type":"text

Los Angeles Rams OLB Leonard Floyd (age 29): 10.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss, 28 pressures","type":"text

Arizona Cardinals OLB Haason Reddick (age 27): 12.5 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 35 pressures","type":"text

Cleveland Browns OLB Olivier Vernon (age 31): 9 sacks, 12 tackles for loss, 27 pressures","type":"text

Who might they take with their first-round pick?

Who might they take with their first-round pick?

In the draft, the Ravens could target the following players at the end of the first round:

WIDE RECEIVERS

LSU WR Terrace Marshall Jr.","type":"text

Florida WR Kadarius Toney","type":"text

Ohio State WR Chris Olave","type":"text

Purdue WR Rondale Moore","type":"text

USC WR Amon-Ra St. Brown","type":"text

Ole Miss WR Elijah Moore","type":"text

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

USC OT/G Alijah Vera-Tucker","type":"text

Alabama OT/G Alex Leatherwood","type":"text

Alabama C/G Landon Dickerson","type":"text

Michigan OT/G Jalen Mayfield","type":"text

EDGE RUSHERS

EDGE RUSHERS

Penn State DE Jayson Oweh","type":"text

Wake Forest DE Carlos Basham Jr.","type":"text

Tulsa OLB Zaven Collins","type":"text

Miami DE Jaelan Phillips","type":"text

Texas OLB Joseph Ossai","type":"text

Michigan DE Aidan Hutchinson","type":"text