Ravens Front Office Has Busy Offseason AheadPosted on January 06, 2014 by Slater Jackson
The Baltimore Ravens are already well into their off season and General Manager Ozzie Newsome is hard at work towards next season. There are a lot of questions surrounding the team as they prepare to resign players and add in free agency. Also there are questions over coaches as offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell is interviewing for head coaching jobs and after Juan Castillo failed badly as the run game coordinator it is questionable whether he will stay.
Looking at the roster as it is now there are currently 13 unrestricted free agents ready to hit the market if the Ravens don’t choose to resign them. These players are; Michael Oher, Egene Monroe, Dallas Clark, Daryl Smith, Dennis Pitta, Jacoby Jones, Corey Graham, Terrence Cody, Ed Dickson, Arthur Jones, James Ihedigbo, Jeremy Miles and Bernard Scott. Baltimore does not have the cap room to resign all of these players and may ask some to take lower deals than they could command elsewhere to stay. The priority for Newsome and the Ravens front office is to lock up; Dennis Pitta, Daryl Smith and Eugene Monroe who are key parts in the Ravens plans moving forward. Arthur Jones who has turned into a great defensive lineman will attract very lucrative offers from many other teams and it will be very difficult for Baltimore to match. Unless some cap space can be caressed or other players reconfigure their deals it is hard to see Jones staying in Baltimore.
Michael Oher’s time in Baltimore is likely over as the former first round pick never lived up to his potential as a franchise left tackle. Moved to the right side his multitude of penalties and poor run blocking leave him the odd man out in Baltimore as Eugene Monroe has come in and the Ravens can’t sign both to lucrative deals.
Jacoby Jones who is undeniably a weapon in the kick return game and a genuine deep threat in the passing game should stay in Baltimore. He is not a number 1 receiver so his command of big money will be less, Baltimore would also like to keep their game breaking returner. Baltimore will look to secure Jones services again next season but this deal may not come easy as Jones will want big time receiver money and the Ravens see him primarily as a specialist.
James Ihedigbo and Corey Graham have been excellent contributors to the Ravens and the front office would like to see them both stay. Head coach John Harbaugh has already made it clear he would like to keep the current crop of corner backs in tact with Graham at the nickel. Baltimore faces a real dilemma with what to do with Ihedigbo, and enthusiastic player who is great down in the box in run support. Ihedigbo unfortunately was a liability at times in pass coverage and the Ravens may be looking to free agency and the draft to find a successor. If both sides can find an appropriate fiscal deal to keep Ihedigbo on the team as well as bring in his eventual successor that would be the ideal situation for the Ravens.
Jim Caldwell and Juan Castillo were criticised greatly this season for not being able to get the offense clicking on all cylinders. The same offense that won a Superbowl the season before regressed greatly as Caldwell did a full overhaul of the offense. Moving away from the vertical game that served them so well in their Superbowl run the Ravens offense was more lateral and worked on finesse deception. With little to no running game which was meant to be improved by the addition of Caldwell the offense struggled. Caldwell and Castillo tried to mesh together two opposing principles to no avail as the Ravens offense had to keep changing and evolving throughout the season away from its base. The Baltimore front office has not yet made anything clear about the future of the two coaches but with Caldwell seemingly out the door for one of the many vacant head coaching positions it will be up to the Ravens brass to make a call on Castillo. If Baltimore finds itself looking for another offensive coordinator they will have to find someone who can maximise both Joe Flacco and Ray Rice’s potential. Building an offense around their strengths rather than forcing them to conform to a system may yield greater results next season.
It will be another long off season for the Ravens and one that will bring about much change. The tough calls will be made very soon on players and personnel to help forge a new direction for the Ravens moving forward.
RAVENS 2014 FREE-AGENT CLASS (courtesy of our friends at PressBox Online)
(Free-agent signing period starts when new league year begins March 11)
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (13)
(Four or more years' experience, can sign with another team with no compensation to the Ravens; years of experience in parentheses)
Tight end Dallas Clark (11), nose tackle Terrence Cody (four), tight end Ed Dickson (four), cornerback Corey Graham (seven), safety James Ihedigbo (seven), defensive end Arthur Jones (four), wide receiver Jacoby Jones (seven), safety Jeromy Miles (four), tackle Eugene Monroe (five), tackle Michael Oher (five), tight end Pitta (four), running back Bernard Scott (five), linebacker Daryl Smith (10)
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (TWO)
(Three years' experience, can be tendered offer sheet by other club, Ravens would have seven days to match)
Linebacker Albert McClellan, wide receiver Tandon Doss
EXCLUSIVE-RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (SIX)
(Two years' experience, player has no negotiating leverage)
Safety Omar Brown, linebacker D.J. Bryant, linebacker Josh Bynes, linebacker Adrian Hamilton, safety Anthony Levine, safety Brynden Trawick