The first wave of free agency is over, and the uncharacteristically aggressive Ravens were among the league’s busiest teams.
So far, they signed two outside free agents (running back Danny Woodhead and safety Tony Jefferson), re-signed three of their own (quarterback Ryan Mallett, nose tackle Brandon Williams and reserve safety/special teams ace Anthony Levine Sr.), picked up one option (wide receiver Mike Wallace), revised one contract (tight end Dennis Pitta), lost four free agents (fullback Kyle Juszczyk, offensive linemen Rick Wagner and Vladimir Ducasse and defensive end Lawrence Guy) and cut four veterans (outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil and defensive backs Lardarius Webb, Shareece Wright and Kendrick Lewis).
General manager Ozzie Newsome made it clear Friday that the Ravens aren’t done in free agency. They have myriad needs, and there are still plenty of quality free agents available. Below is a look at the Ravens’ biggest needs, and some players who might fit them.
Kamar Aiken – Aiken seemed ready for a fresh start from the Ravens after his opportunities dropped significantly in 2016. However, he’s still on the market and sometimes the familiar wins out over the unknown.
Anquan Boldin – Boldin, 36, still possesses qualities that the Ravens lack at wide receiver. He makes contested catches, is productive in the red zone and on third down and he’s a physical blocker. Joe Flacco trusts him, too.
Victor Cruz –Ravens’ fans seem most intrigued by the former New York Giant, although Cruz looked significantly less explosive and elusive last year after returning from a series of leg injuries. Still, he is a good route runner and he has experience working in the slot.
Michael Floyd – The former Arizona Cardinal and New England Patriot is facing potential league discipline after his second DUI last year, so he might be a long shot. However, he’s big and physical and he has more on-field upside than any other of the options.
Andrew Hawkins – The Ravens know the 31-year old well because he’s played his entire six-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals or Cleveland Browns. He’s quick and experienced in the slot, and he wouldn’t cost a compensatory pick after his release from the Browns.
Ryan Clady, OT – Clady has played left tackle his whole career and the Ravens need a right tackle after Rick Wagner left in free agency. Clady, though, is a four-time Pro Bowl selection and arguably the most accomplished offensive tackle available.
Nick Mangold, C – The Ravens would like to upgrade at center over Jeremy Zuttah and the 33-year-old long-time New York Jet seems like a good fit if he’s healthy. Mangold has a ton of experience and he wouldn’t cost a compensatory pick either.
Austin Pasztor, OT – A former University of Virginia standout, Pasztor started all 16 games at either right guard or right tackle for the Browns last year and he has 43 careers starts on his resume. The Ravens already have a scouting report on him.
Sebastian Vollmer, OT – There has been some speculation that the 32-year-old and long-time Patriot is leaning toward retirement. If he decides to continue his career, he could be a nice bridge until the Ravens find a long-term answer at right tackle.
Connor Barwin – Released last week by the Philadelphia Eagles, Barwin had just five sacks last year and wasn’t a great fit as a defensive end in Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 defense. He’s still 30 years old and he’s the type of physical, high-energy player that the Ravens love.
Elvis Dumervil – The Ravens cut Dumervil last week, and a reunion is probably unlikely. However, Newsome doesn’t close the door on well-respected veterans, and Dumervil is just that. He should be able to get a nice contract elsewhere, though.
Dwight Freeney – Freeney and the Ravens have been linked the last couple of seasons. Why not again this year? The Ravens need a pass rusher, and Freeney, even at 36 years old last year, looked like he had a little juice left.
Chris Long – The second overall pick in the 2008 draft has just eight sacks over the past three seasons. He’s probably just a situational pass rusher at this stage of his career, but that’s pretty much what the Ravens need.
Zach Brown - Brown had a breakout season last year for the Buffalo Bills, finishing second in the NFL with 149 tackles. He’s fast and versatile and he has a nose for the quarterback. Brown played high school football at Wilde Lake in Howard County.
Dont’a Hightower – With Zachary Orr retiring, C.J. Mosley needs another partner inside. Who would be better than Hightower, another former Alabama star? This is probably a pipe dream, as Hightower is arguably the best free agent available and will command big bucks. He's reportedly meeting with the New York Jets on Monday.
Kevin Minter – A second-round pick in 2013, Minter wouldn’t be a sexy addition, by any means. However, he had a decent season last year for the Cardinals, and he’s started every game over the past two seasons.
Brandon Carr – It’s a little surprising that Carr isn’t getting a little more free-agent buzz. Yes, he turns 31 in a couple of months, but he’s started every game for nine straight seasons. He did say after the Dallas Cowboys' playoff loss in January that he was contemplating retirement.
Morris Claiborne – The Ravens targeted the Cowboys free agent last week, and they’ve been unable to complete a deal. Claiborne has an extensive injury history, but he probably has the most upside of any cornerback still on the market.
Brandon Flowers – Ravens safety Eric Weddle was instrumental in recruiting Jefferson and Woodhead to Baltimore. Flowers was Weddle’s San Diego Chargers’ teammate for two years. Released by the Chargers last week, the 31-year-old wouldn’t cost a compensatory pick to sign.
DeShawn Shead – Non-tendered last week by the Seattle Seahawks, Shead is 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds. The Ravens would love to add a big and long cornerback opposite Jimmy Smith. The issue with Shead is he’s recovering from a torn ACL and may not be ready for the start of the 2017 season.