The Ravens have already re-signed two of their own free agents, bringing back offensive lineman James Hurst and defensive end Brent Urban. The team is set to finalize deals with wide receivers John Brown and Ryan Grant once the market opens at 4 p.m. today.
There’s plenty to discuss about what’s happened the past couple of days and what will happen in the days ahead.
1) I don’t believe the Ravens are done at receiver even after adding Brown and Grant. They’ll still likely draft one or two pass catchers, and they still could sign a veteran assuming the price is right.
2) General manager Ozzie Newsome suggested at the NFL scouting combine that the team was basically resetting at the receiver position. That didn’t bode well for the return of Jeremy Maclin or free agents Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro (River Hill). The Brown and Grant additions make it even less likely that at least two of those three, if not all three, won’t return. Maclin is due a $1 million roster bonus by Friday. Expectations remain that he won’t return, and the Ravens certainly can use the salary cap space.
3) It will be interesting to hear the team’s rationale for Grant’s four-year, $29 million deal. On the surface, it looks like a big overpay for a player who has never had 600 receiving yards in any of his four NFL seasons and caught more than 25 passes in a season just once. But that doesn’t mean Grant can’t really help the Ravens. He’s tough and durable, and he can win matchups underneath and be the type of chain-mover that the Ravens need. Whether he’ll prove worthy of that contract is another story.
4) The criticism that the Ravens should have used the money on the two receivers they signed and just put it toward wideout Allen Robinson ignores the fact that the team was indeed in on Robinson. I don’t know what the Ravens’ offer was or how close they got, but they were clearly interested.
5) Lots of questions specifically about whether the Ravens could add either Jordan Matthews or Terrelle Pryor, who are two of the top receivers remaining. I wouldn’t rule it out, but they had an opportunity to add both players last season and didn’t aggressively pursue either.
6) There’s still a strong chance the Ravens re-sign tight end-turned-offensive lineman Crockett Gillmore, but it might not happen immediately. Gillmore had a minor knee cleanup a couple of weeks back and the Ravens will want to gauge where he is health-wise before signing him. Gillmore, who now weighs over 300 pounds, is said to look good.
7) I get that the Ravens were up against the salary cap and have to make some tough decisions. However, I still wonder whether they will regret declining right tackle Austin Howard’s 2018 option for a total of $3 million in salary cap savings. After struggling early, Howard settled in and was pretty solid. Every year, it seems the Ravens do this dance at one or two offensive line spots, and Howard would’ve seemingly brought some stability.
8) Forget the eye-popping deal that Kirk Cousins is reportedly getting from the Minnesota Vikings. If you want a reminder as to why drafting an early-round quarterback is not a ridiculous proposition for the Ravens next month, look at the contracts that veteran “bridge” quarterbacks are set to sign: Sam Bradford is reportedly getting a one-year, $20 million deal from the Arizona Cardinals. Case Keenum will play for the Denver Broncos under a two-year, $36 million pact. Josh McCown will get $10 million for one year from the New York Jets. When you get a chance to potentially get a young and affordable quarterback, you have to take a shot if the right guy is there.
9) It was pretty quiet on the Ryan Jensen front yesterday, but I can’t imagine he’ll be available for much longer today. I still would be surprised if he stays with the Ravens, though I learned last year with defensive tackle Brandon Williams never to rule anything out. The Jets have plenty of money and still need a center, so maybe that’s Jensen’s best play.
10) Prince Amukamara got $9 million a year to return to the Chicago Bears. The Carolina Panthers will pay Bashaud Breeland $8 million per year. The money committed to No. 2 cornerbacks yesterday is another reason the Ravens were smart to pick up Brandon Carr’soption.