Baltimore Ravens: What’s Next in Free Agency?

Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh reacts during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh reacts during the game against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens have been unusually aggressive in free agency this offseason. Is there more to be done before the NFL Draft?

Ozzie Newsome has been a busy man for a couple weeks. He gave his franchise quarterback a contract extension that also freed up some cap space. He had to make the tough decision to part ways with Daryl Smith. He got Marshal Yanda and Jimmy Smith to rework their contracts for more cap room.

Baltimore quickly went from non-players in free agency to being one of the more active teams on the market. They added three former Pro Bowlers and each fills an important void on the roster. With Eric Weddle, Mike Wallace and Ben Watson, the Ravens have added the playmakers they have lacked on both sides of the ball.

All three signings give the Ravens assurances for this season. The safety play a year ago was disappointing to say the least, and with Will Hill being suspended for 10 games, the addition of Weddle made perfect sense. Wallace is the deep threat the team was lacking last season, and is healthy, unlike Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman. They needed a tight end with Nick Boyle also being suspended and Crockett Gillmore battling back from injuries of his own. 

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Entering the offseason, the Ravens top needs were in the secondary and receiving corps. Now that they have addressed those positions, what is left for the Ravens to look for?

The offensive line lost a big piece when Kelechi Osemele joined the Oakland Raiders. K.O. gave the Ravens flexibility on the line with his ability to play guard and tackle. With him now gone, John Urschel steps into the starting lineup and the Ravens are an injury away from having to put James Hurst back on the field.

A proven veteran at guard could be signed at any moment. Baltimore did host Vladimir Ducasse for a visit, but he left without a deal. Manny Ramirez is a player that has already been discussed on this site as a free agent the Ravens should target. Both would fill the void left by Osemele’s departure and keep the offensive line depth where it has been in recent years.

It is no secret that the Ravens are an organization that has always placed a premium on pass rushers. Last season, they allowed Pernell McPhee to leave in free agency and paid for it once Terrell Suggs went down with an injury in the first game of the season. Baltimore struggled to get to the passer for much of the season with teams able to place their focus on stopping Elvis Dumervil.

Courtney Upshaw remains a free agent and does fill a role for the Ravens, but offers nothing as a pass rusher. The free agents that are still on the market are not the most exciting group either. The biggest name still available is Aldon Smith, but he is also set to serve a 10-game suspension for his long history of off-the-field issues. Dwight Freeney is a great veteran that could be worked into a rotation with Suggs, Dumervil and Za’Darius Smith.

The decision to part ways with Daryl Smith also puts a hole at inside linebacker. The Ravens do have a rising star in C.J. Mosley, but a bunch of unknowns after that. Zach Orr and Albert McClellan were both undrafted, and Arthur Brown has done little since being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. Selecting a linebacker is likely in the draft, but if the team wants a short-term stop gap, DeMeco Ryans still has some tread on his tires.

Of course, this is all speculation as the Ravens could be finished with free agency and turn their focus to the draft. Baltimore has been linked to an offensive lineman, pass rusher and linebacker in the first round of a lot of mock drafts. Ozzie has that decision to make in the not so distant future.

Next: Baltimore Ravens Part Ways With Will Hill

The aggressiveness in free agency is not something we are used to from the Ravens, but they made smart moves to fill a few of the holes that they had. Now, they get to add a great player in the draft and not feel obligated to fill a pressing need.