Skip to main content

Around the League

Presented By

Offseason Forecast: Baltimore Ravens

With the offseason officially under way, Around The League will examine what's next for all 32 teams. The series continues with the Baltimore Ravens.

What's changing?

The Ravens adjust to change as well as any team in the league. Good thing, too, because Baltimore has plenty of juggling to do. With a whopping 14 players set to hit free agency, general manager Ozzie Newsome is tasked with filling holes on defense and adding playmakers to an offense that sputtered last season. On that side of the ball, coordinator Jim Caldwell has been replaced by former Houston Texans coachGary Kubiak, who will need more talent on the offensive line to make a real difference in 2014. One positive for Newsome: After living in salary-cap hell last offseason, the Ravens currently sit about $20 million under, giving this team ample room to maneuver.

» TE Dennis Pitta: NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Ravens and Pitta are "making progress" on a new deal. If they don't get one done by March 3, Baltimore's a strong bet to franchise tag Joe Flacco's best friend. If that happens, look for Pitta to file a grievance through the NFL Players Association to be tagged as a receiver -- at $11.6 million instead of $6.8 million -- after operating out of the slot on 79.7 percent of his routes in 2013. (UPDATE: The Ravens and Pitta agreed to a long-term contract on Friday.)

» OT Eugene Monroe: Newsome told reporters Saturday that he's already talking with the bookend about a new deal. The Ravens sound determined to keep Monroe around for the long haul. One tackle we don't expect back is Michael Oher.

» LB Daryl Smith: The Ravens also are talking with Smith about a new deal after the reliable linebacker finished second on defense in total snaps and brought stability to the unit's second wave.

What they need

The offensive line is flush with question marks. Last season's game tape confirms that Geno Gradkowski doesn't hold a candle to the retired Matt Birk. Meanwhile, left guard Kelechi Osemele is coming off a back injury and, as mentioned, Oher is likely a goner. If the team can't lock down Monroe, the Ravens could be looking at a complete overhaul up front.

Baltimore also needs to add new targets for Flacco. Marlon Brown is an intriguing young receiver, but nobody behind Torrey Smith is a proven threat. It's an outstanding draft for wideouts, and we expect the Ravens to use one of their four picks to on a pass-catcher, especially if Jacoby Jones bolts. The Ravens also need safety help with Ihedigbo set to hit the open market.

On the way out?

» RB Ray Rice: It's possible that Rice will face a suspension on the heels of his arrest for simple assault. Newsome acknowledged that the video of Rice's scuffle with his fiancée, Janay Palmer, at an Atlantic City casino "doesn't look good." Still, both the general manager and coach John Harbaugh have emphasized that Rice remains a central figure in next season's plans. As of today, we fully anticipate Rice to be kept.

» FB Vonta Leach: The veteran fullback faded from the scene down the stretch. Set to cost $2.3 million against the cap, Leach looms as a logical cut for a team that might opt for the less-expensive Kyle Juszczyk at the position.

Offseason crystal ball

'ATL Podcast'


The Around The League team hits all the NFL's hottest topics in its award-winning podcast. Join the conversation. **Listen**

Baltimore is prioritizing Pitta's return. One way or another, he'll be back, along with Eugene Monroe. Teams aren't in the habit of waving goodbye to talented, young players, and we expect the left tackle to ink a long-term pact with the Ravens. I also expect Newsome to push for an upgrade at center and look for bodies to beef up a line that stunk up the joint last season.

Smith will be retained at linebacker and the Ravens will angle to replace Ihedigbo in the back of this defense. Newsome likes to mix in veterans with young talent, but with just four picks in May's draft, we expect Baltimore to operate as an active -- but smart -- participant in free agency.

On the latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast," the guys talk about the Jim Harbaugh drama in San Francisco and discuss who made the most striking impression at the NFL Scouting Combine.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content