OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Few teams value compensatory draft picks like the Baltimore Ravens.
That's one of the reasons the team traditionally has a quiet start to free agency.
However, the Ravens will likely be more active on the first Monday following the draft (April 29-May 1), which is May 3.
Any unrestricted free agents the team signs after that date don’t count against the compensatory pick formula.
So, if the Ravens sign a player after the draft, it doesn't matter what the team pays him, the team does not lose any of the comp picks it accumulated. The Ravens are on track to grab an additional pair of fourth-round selections for the loss of linebacker Matthew Judon and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The team could also get an extra selection for the loss of wide receiver Willie Snead.
Baltimore is still in the market for a wide receiver and a pass rusher.
While the free-agent market for wide receivers has grown essentially bare, there are several talented edge rushers still available as free agents, including Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, Melvin Ingram, Ryan Kerrigan, Aldon Smith and Olivier Vernon.
The Ravens could get a boost by signing any of those players. The gamble is whether those players will be still available by May 3.
The Ravens have been pleasantly surprised with their comp picks in the past.
"I never thought that we’d get a third-round comp [compensatory] pick for C.J. Mosley; I always expected a fourth-round comp pick, and then we got a third-round comp pick for C.J. Mosley, and I was psyched," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. "So, I always tell the guys, ‘Listen, don’t give me the best case; give me the worst case, and let’s operate off the worst-case.’ So, I don’t know what the cap is going to be next year and moving forward, but we’ll be prepared, we’ll be responsible, as best a