Free agency is four weeks away and the first round of the NFL draft won’t take place for another 11 weeks. So in the days and weeks ahead, all the talk and focus will inevitably be on what the Ravens need.
That’s understandable, given that the team is coming off a 5-11 season, will pick sixth overall in the draft and has a lot of work to do before it gets back among the NFL’s elite.
But it is also worth taking a look at the few positions that the Ravens don’t really need to address and the areas where, barring the unexpected this offseason, they appear set heading into the 2016 campaign.
Outlook: At some point this offseason, the Ravens will probably bring in another quarterback to serve as an extra arm during the various organized team activities, minicamps and training camp. After all, Flacco, who had surgery to repair a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee in November, might not be fully cleared to take part in all the workouts until training camp. But unless Flacco has a setback – and the early word on him is that his rehabilitation is going extremely well – or Mallett has some sort of issue, the Ravens won’t have to invest notable money or draft picks into the position. They can add a street free-agent quarterback after the draft and have him come in and take some repetitions with Johnson behind the two veterans.
Outlook: The Ravens are deep here and there’s really not any room for another back to crack this group unless there are changes. Forsett and Taliaferro should both be healthy in time for training camp and Allen and West got valuable snaps this past season. The biggest question will be how Ravens coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Marc Trestman divvy up the carries in 2016. The caveat here is if the Ravens decide to let go of Forsett a year after signing him to a three-year, $9 million contract. However, that would be a risky move, given that none of their other backs have proven to be an every-down performer. Plus, releasing Forsett would only provide a little over $2 million of salary cap savings. That doesn’t seem to be enough to dump a productive player and team leader.
Current TEs on 53-man roster: Crockett Gillmore, Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle, Dennis Pitta, Harold Spears, Konrad Reuland (exclusive rights free agent)
Outlook: The performance of the team’s young tight ends was one of the bright spots of an otherwise disappointing season. Even without Pitta whose career may well be over, the Ravens already have three young tight ends that they view as starting caliber. In Spears and Reuland, they also have two other tight ends to take practice and preseason repetitions. The Ravens might add another tight end at some point to provide competition and insurance, but it would be surprising for that player to be anything more than an undrafted free agent.
Current DL on 53-man roster: Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, Chris Canty, Lawrence Guy, Brent Urban, Carl Davis, Kapron Lewis-Moore, Nordly Capi
Outlook: Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome loves stockpiling young defensive linemen. The organization has become a factory of sorts for its ability to develop interior defensive linemen. They also spent considerable resources on the position as they have drafted an interior defensive lineman in the first three rounds in three straight years. However, they hardly need to do it again this season even with the expectation that Canty will be let go. Williams is one of the game’s best nose tackles and Jernigan, Guy, Urban and Davis provide nice depth and versatility at the defensive tackle and end spots. The Ravens will surely look to add one or two defensive linemen at some point of the offseason because they love to have a deep rotation. But they certainly don’t need to spend significant resources to do so. A mid-to-late-round pick would probably do the trick.