INDIANAPOLIS — Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that the Ravens remain in active negotiations with the team's top free agents, a group that includes nose tackle Brandon Williams, right tackle Rick Wagner and fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
He expressed hope that the team can sign the pending unrestricted free agents before they hit the open market on March 9. However, Harbaugh said the team would not used the franchise tag by Wednesday's deadline.
That's not a big surprise as it was a long shot from the beginning that they'd tag Williams.
Harbaugh wouldn't characterize how much progress the Ravens have made in the negotiations. But he said that the team's offer to Wagner, the starting right tackle the past three seasons, would be competitive in the free-agent market.
Harbaugh spoke on day one of the NFL Scouting Combine. He was mostly tight lipped about the team's offseason plans, acknowledging that general manager Ozzie Newsome is juggling a lot of balls right now in his quest to improve the team.
Other quick hits from Harbaugh:
He said that he wants wide receiver Mike Wallace to return for next season and he anticipates that will be the end result. The Ravens have until March 9 to pick up the wide receiver's contract option for 2017.
Harbaugh reiterated the team's biggest needs and particularly focused on rebuilding the secondary. He also mentioned improvements along the front seven given weak-side linebacker Zachary Orr's surprise retirement, and adding more playmakers on offense.
The Ravens are also trying to bring back backup quarterback Ryan Mallett, who is an unrestricted free agent, Harbaugh said. The team needs to find a backup quarterback and Harbaugh didn't rule out drafting one.
There has been speculation that the Ravens could pick a running back in the first round if either LSU's Leonard Fournette or Florida State's Dalvin Cook are surprisingly available at No. 16. Harbaugh said he wouldn't be against taking a first-round running back, reiterated that the team was interested in Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott last season.