7 Free Agents The Ravens Could Target
In the early days of Eric DeCosta regime, the Baltimore Ravens 2019 roster is in a bit of flux. Some players being retained. Some players moving on. The 2019 Draft nearing. The other variable is which external Free Agents do the Ravens target? (With the understanding that the Ravens have some cap room available, but not much as many of their peers.) Here we look at 7 possibilities.
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1) WR, Cordarrelle Patterson
2018 stats: 15 games played, 5 games started, 21 rec. 247 yds, 11.8 YPR, 3 TDs
Patterson would be an ideal free agent target due to his versatility. He offers great special teams value, can be lined up on the outside, and can even play as a running back. The Patriots last season used Patterson very effectively. Emulating Patterson the way he was used in New England would only add another element of unpredictability in the Ravens offense. He shouldn’t garner a large contract either; he would be very affordable for the prudent Ravens.
2) OG, Roger Saffold
2018 Stats: Started 16 games at LG
Saffold is arguably this year’s top free agent guard. He was very effective for the Rams and played a large role in helping Todd Gurley have another stellar season. The Ravens may be reluctant to pursue Saffold due to his age (31) as well as the large contract he will demand.
3) C, Matt Paradis
2018 Stats: Started 9 games at center. Season ended due to a broken fibula.
Matt Paradis’ free agent situation is very similar to Saffold’s. He is an above average center that headlines a dried-up center market. Despite only playing 9 games this year, Paradis has been reliable in the past, starting all 16 games from 2015-2017. He is only 29 and has not had an extensive injury history. The only problem is that he may be out of the Ravens price range. Teams with more cap space will be more inclined to overspend in order to fill needs.
4) WR, Donte Moncrief
2018 Stats: 16 games played, 14 games started, 48 rec. 668 yards, 13.9 YPR, 3 TDs
Moncrief was rumored to be on the Ravens radar last free agency. He took a 1 year $9.6 million contract from the Jaguars and had his best season, in terms of yardage and receptions, since 2015. He is only 25 years old and has his best football still ahead of him. He still struggles with drops with a 5.6% drop rate this past season (Michael Crabtree had an 8% drop rate to compare) but nonetheless, has vastly improved his hands since entering the league. Wide receivers are high priced commodities in today’s league, and with this year’s free agent class being less robust than last year’s, Moncrief will be one of the higher paid free agent receivers.
5) FS, Tyrann Mathieu
2018 Stats: Started all 16 games, 89 tackles, 3 sacks, 8 passes defended, 2 interceptions
If free agency was a game of matchmaker, I don’t know if there would be a better match than Tyrann Mathieu and the Ravens. Mathieu plays like a Raven, with toughness, tenacity, and hunger. After the release of safety Eric Weddle, the Ravens are rumored to be aggressive in the pursuit of Mathieu. He is only 26 years old and came off one of his best seasons as a pro. He also played with current Ravens safety, Tony Jefferson, in Arizona. Pairing them two together would make the Ravens defense much more dangerous. Though he will surely garner an expensive contract, I, as well as many other Ravens fans, would be in full support of signing Mathieu.
6) ILB, Mark Barron
2018 Stats: 12 games played and started, 60 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defended
The 29-year-old safety turned linebacker was a recent cap casualty for the Los Angeles Rams. Barron had been very consistent for the Rams since they traded for him in 2014. The only scenario where I see the Ravens considering Barron would be if they are unable to retain star linebacker C.J. Mosley. Barron would be a nice veteran presence to go along with his strong coverage skills. Signing Barron would not go against the compensatory pick formula since he was cut, and he is also a former Alabama product.
7) FS, Eric Weddle
2018 Stats: 16 games played and started, 68 tackles, 1 sack, 3 passes defended, 0 interceptions
Though it is unlikely, it is not impossible that Eric Weddle returns to the Ravens. Weddle had been a key leader, as well as a menace for opposing quarterbacks, since the Ravens signed him in 2016. He did not intercept any balls, most likely a reason why the Ravens opted not to retain him, and is 34 years old. Weddle’s best football is definitely behind him, but he is easily one of the smartest players in the NFL. If not from the Ravens, he will be receiving a more than modest contract from another team.