Free agency wasn’t even two hours old Wednesday and many of the top wide receivers, tight ends, interior offensive linemen, pass rushers and defensive backs had either already found new homes, or committed to old ones.
Twenty-one of Pro Football Talk’s 25 top-ranked free agents had signed new contracts by 9 p.m. Nine of NFL.com’s top-10 free agents are no longer on the market. But don’t fret, Ravens’ fans. There were 496 players that officially hit the open market at 4 p.m. Wednesday, and there’s plenty still available for teams like the Ravens, who didn’t have the salary cap space to purchase any big-ticket items on Day One.
Below is a look at the Ravens’ top positions of need and the top remaining free agents at that position:
Best remaining: Anquan Boldin, San Francisco 49ers; James Jones, Green Bay Packers; Brandon LaFell, New England Patriots; Rueben Randle, New York Giants; Mike Wallace, Minnesota Vikings; Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons.
Makes most sense: Wallace is a logical fit and there are indications that the Ravens have some interest if the price is right. The Ravens need to add speed to their offense and he’s probably the most dynamic wide receiver available. A reunion with Boldin would be a great story and he’d make any team better, but the Ravens don’t really need another possession receiver. LaFell, a close friend of Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., is a decent fallback option. Neither he nor Wallace would cost the Ravens a compensatory pick.
Makes most sense: With little available salary cap space, the Ravens might be wise to keep Eugene Monroe for another year and hope he stays healthy. If he stays healthy, he’s probably a better option than anything that is available. However, they do need a better Plan B than either James Hurst or De’Ondre Wesley. Beachum probably makes the most sense because he can play guard -- the Ravens lost starting left guard Kelechi Osemele -- and also move out to tackle.
Makes most sense: It appears that the Ravens will have to attack this need in the draft and potentially with their first-round pick. Ayers is probably the best available, but he’s more of a 4-3 defensive end and he’s reportedly set for a meeting with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday. Long also is a better fit for a 4-3. Pass rushers have become one of the game’s most prized commodities and the top ones available got scooped up early and made big money. The Ravens never really stood a chance.
Best remaining: Prince Amukamara, New York Giants; Brandon Boykin, Pittsburgh Steelers; Brent Grimes, Miami Dolphins; Casey Hayward, Green Bay Packers; Patrick Robinson, San Diego Chargers; Sean Smith, Kansas City Chiefs.
Makes most sense: Even after re-signing Shareece Wright and getting Kyle Arrington to agree to a pay cut, the Ravens still have a need for another cornerback. There actually are still quite a few solid ones available. If the Ravens were able to sign one, it would take the pressure off them to draft one in the early rounds come late April. Guys like Amukamara, Hayward and Smith might be a little pricey at this point. However, Boykin is seemingly a good fit, and Grimes is a quality player, but he comes with some baggage.
Makes most sense: The Ravens keep saying that they want to add a safety, but I’m not sure where one fits when they already have Lardarius Webb, Will Hill, Kendrick Lewis, Terrence Brooks, Matt Elam and Anthony Levine on their roster. Regardless, the top safeties flew off the board Wednesday afternoon and most of them were getting $6-7 million a year. That’s far too pricey for the Ravens. If they could get him at a modest price, Thurmond would be a nice addition because of his versatility and ball skills.