Ravens Roster Decisions: Unrestricted Free Agents
After a disappointing loss in the playoffs, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta must turn his attention to the offseason.
DeCosta, now in his second-year at the helm, has several potentially difficult decisions to make with several players.
Here is a breakdown of the unrestricted free agents:
LINEBACKERS: Josh Bynes, Matthew Judon, Anthony Levine Sr., Pernell McPhee and Patrick Onwuasor.
OUTLOOK: Judon led the team with 9.5 sacks but he might have priced himself out of the Ravens' comfort zone. A franchise tag on Judon could cost the team about $18 million, which could also preclude DeCosta from bringing Judon back. Last season, the Ravens let sacks leader Za'Darius Smith leave via free agency. He signed a four-year, $66-million deal with the Green Bay Packers and had a 13.5 sacks in 2019.
“I love it in Baltimore,” said Judon, who led the team with 9.5 sacks. “I told y'all this every time y'all ask. I'm appreciative of DeCosta, of Ozzie, of Coach 'Harbs' giving me an opportunity. They trusted in me starting for the last three years. They gave me a bigger portion this year as my role on the team, and I'm forever grateful to them.
“But ultimately, that's a decision that comes from them and me. We have to sit down and talk about some things and my agency. We have to see, but for the last four years and this whole year, I couldn't ask for anything else.”
DEFENSIVE TACKLES: Justin Ellis, Domata Peko, Michael Pierce and Jihad Ward.
OUTLOOK: Pierce dealt with some weight issues during OTAs, but came back to training camp in solid shape and had a solid season. The Ravens signed fellow defensive tackle Brandon Williams to five-year, $54 million contract in 2018, and might allocate their financial resources elsewhere, which would allow Pierce to test the market. Baltimore is bullish on Ward and will likely be aggressive trying to bring him back.
"This is the only family I've known," Pierce said. "I would love for it to continue that way, but the NFL offseason is a beast in itself. So, you have to kind of take it how it goes. It's out of my hands at this point, but yes, I would always love, love to stay and be a part of this amazing group. They have a strong, strong group coming back next year, obviously, with Lamar [Jackson] at the head, so I'd love to be back. If not, I'll roll with the punches. But, I just have to get better.”
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Jordan Richards, Brynden Trawick and Jimmy Smith.
OUTLOOK: Smith, the team's first-round pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, has battled injuries throughout his career. He has stated his preference to stay in Baltimore, but the financials will have to work out. The Ravens recently signed fellow cornerback Marcus Peters to an extension and want to do the same with Marlon Humphrey, another former first-round pick. Trawick had an even season on special teams.
WIDE RECEIVERS: Chris Moore, Seth Roberts and De’Anthony Thomas.
OUTLOOK: The Ravens could let all three of these players test the free-agent market and after tepid performances in 2019.
OFFENSIVE LINE: Hroniss Grasu and Andre Smith.
OUTLOOK: The Ravens need depth on the offensive line but will likely look for some younger reinforcements via the draft or in the free-agent market.