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Ravens 9 biggest needs ahead of 2024 NFL free agency

The Ravens have concluded their 2023 season, and the focus now shifts to what’s shaping up to be a franchise-altering offseason for general manager Eric DeCosta.

Baltimore is 20th in the NFL in cap space, with $7.3 million available, and there will be critical decisions regarding several vital contributors and two All-Pros. And they’re spending about $120+ million plus on the offensive side of the football.

PFF recently did an early ranking of the top 50 free agents for 2024, and John Harbaugh’s squad had four players make the list.

With the new league set to begin, we’re looking at the Ravens nine biggest needs entering the 2024 NFL offseason.

Wide Receiver

Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half in the AFC Championship football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 28, 2024; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Zay Flowers (4) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first half in the AFC Championship football game at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore will return Zay Flowers, who quickly developed into one of the top young pass catchers in the NFL.   Rashod Bateman returns, but will he ever become a reliable 2nd option

Agholor could be a candidate to return, Tylan Wallace makes Devin Duvernay expendable, and the biggest discussion will center around Odell Beckham’s future with the club.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta has taken a wide receiver in the first round in three of his five drafts, and Baltimore should look to add another weapon for Lamar Jackson.

Offensive line depth

Baltimore has three pending free agents: Kevin Zeitler, John Simpson, and Sam Mustipher.

Both starting guards are pending free agents and Baltimore could amass more salary cap space by moving on from both offensive tackles.

Kevin Zeitler wants to return, and the Ravens could look to give Sala Aumavae-Laulu, or Andrew Vorhees an opportunity.

Left tackle Ronnie Stanley carries a 2024 salary-cap hit of $20+ million , while the Ravens would save $5.5 million by parting ways with Morgan Moses.

outside linebacker depth

Pending free agents: Jadeveon Clowney, Kyle Van Noy

Jadeveon Clowney (9.5 sacks) and Kyle Van Noy (9 sacks) were beyond-value signings, and a decision will be made on whether to bring them back.   Tyus Bowser didn’t play a down this season and could be a salary cap casualty.

Odafe Oweh tied his career high with five sacks. David Ojabo will be coming back from surgery to repair a partially torn ACL and has only played five games in his first two seasons. Tavius Robinson returns after a rookie season, in which he saw 29% of the defensive snaps, and Malik Hamm showed tremendous pass rush prowess before spending the season on IR.

 

Running Back

Pending free agents: Gus Edwards, J.K. Dobbins, Dalvin Cook

Baltimore led the league in rushing, but Lamar Jackson was relied on too heavily, leading the team with 821 yards.

The Ravens have J.K. Dobbins and Keaton Mitchell rehabbing from injury, while the team continues to say all the right things about Justice Hill’s place on the roster.

Will Baltimore choose youth at this position, or swing for the fences with Derrick Henry?

Cornerback

Pending free agents: Ronald Darby, Arthur Maulet, Rock Ya-Sin, Trayvon Mullen

The Ravens drafted Kyu Blu Kelly in the fifth round last spring, and he was subsequently cut before catching on with the Washington Commanders.

Brandon Stephens is a natural safety but was the most consistent cornerback on the roster.  Marlon Humphrey could have his contract restructured after an injury-plagued season,

With four pending free-agent cornerbacks, how will Baltimore address concerns with the depth at the position?  The Ravens have Jalyn Armour-Davis and Damarion “Pepe” Williams are entering Year 3 without any real game experience.  Armour-Davis has played just 78 defensive snaps in his first two seasons, and Williams played zero last year.

 

Inside linebacker

Pending free agents: Patrick Queen, Malik Harrison, Del’Shawn Phillips

Patrick Queen bet on himself last spring, and he’ll now be one of the highest-paid linebackers in the NFL.  It’s just likely to be on another team.

The Ravens selected Trenton Simpson out of Oklahoma in the third round last year, and his most extensive playing time was in the regular-season finale against Pittsburgh.

Baltimore can also have depth issues if Harrison and/or Phillips don’t return.

The only three linebackers under contract for next year are Roquan Smith, Simpson, and Josh Ross.

Defensive Line

Pending free agents: Justin Madubuike, Brent Urban

The Ravens could use the franchise tag on Justin Madubuike if they cannot work out a contract extension.

Michael Pierce signed an extension prior to the end of the regular season, while Travis Jones had moments of strong play in Year 2. Broderick Washington inked a three-year extension before last season started, but battled inconsistent play throughout the year.

Safety

Pending free agents: Geno Stone, Daryl Worley

Stone led the AFC with seven interceptions last season and played 82% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in relief of an injured Marcus Williams.

Kyle Hamilton and Williams make up one of the NFL’s top safety duos, and Brandon Stephens could return to the position if Baltimore upgrades at cornerback.

If Stone departs,  Ar’Darius Washington could be part of the rotation.

Quarterback

Pending free agents: Tyler Huntley, Josh Johnson

Baltimore will likely need a new backup quarterback and Tyler Huntley could be on the move.

Huntley served as Jackson’s primary backup for the past three seasons, but the Ravens brought in Malik Cunningham to potentially serve that role.

Story originally appeared on Ravens Wire