Don’t Panic Baltimore, Free Agency Has Just Begun
On March 7, 2017, the NFL’s “legal tampering period” began. Teams are able to contact other teams’ free agents a few days before the 2017 league year begins on March 9th.
Before March 7th, analysts and fans projected which free agents would land on which teams. For Baltimore, the projections have been running wild, as with most years.
Many felt assured that either Brandon Marshall or Pierre Garcon would come to Baltimore to provide a much-needed boost to the passing game. Speculation was drawn upon whether Brandon Williams, Ricky Wagner, and Kyle Juszczyk would don Ravens uniforms in 2017.
As of now, Marshall, Garcon, Wagner, and Juszczyk have all agreed to terms with other teams.
Marshall will pair with Odell Beckham Jr. to give Eli Manning a deadly 1-2 punch. Garcon and Juszczyk both landed in San Francisco to help rebuild a team that won two games in 2016. Wagner set the new market for right tackles with a monster deal in Detroit. There has been no news on Williams yet, other than he is coveted by most teams in the league.
These moves have made sense for each player, and each has equally broken hearts among the Ravens’ faithful.
So, where does that leave Baltimore now?
For many fans and analysts, it probably adds a few concerns. The offensive line already needed help, but Wagner’s official departure emphasizes that. Juszczyk’s departure adds a question mark to the running game, passing game, and blocking game. Missing out on Marshall and Garcon has many fans thinking what could have been.
For Baltimore’s Front Office, however, this was probably to be expected that this point. Wagner and Juszczyk wanted too much money. Marshall and Garcon were obviously prime candidates for many teams. The Front Office has a knack for spending less money for a player who can provide 80% of the production as the player who left and got overpaid.
Aside from the players that Baltimore could not retain, there have been a few who the team have released for salary cap reasons.
Shareece Wright, Kendrick Lewis, and Elvis Dumervil have been released, creating about $11 million in salary cap savings. Reports also state that Dennis Pitta has been approached about a restructured contract. This essentially leaves his future in Baltimore up to him. More salary cap decisions are expected to be made.
These moves are almost certainly focused on obtaining a few free agents before April’s draft.
Although some top options are already off the market before it officially begins, free agency is nowhere near being over.
Riley Reiff and D.J. Fluker are still out there and would be adequate replacements for Wagner. Kenny Britt, Terrelle Pryor, Kendall Wright, and even ex-Raven Torrey Smith are still out there to fill the void at wide receiver. Brandon Williams has yet to agree with another team. There are plenty more moves to be made.
Baltimore is not known for splashy Day One free agency signings, the team prefers to sit back and strike deals that make the most sense for the team.
Ravens fans, who still out there would you like to see Baltimore sign?