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Free Agency Update: Ravens Improve Offensive Line, Fail to Find Lamar Jackson More Weapons

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After a Divisional Round playoff loss, the Baltimore Ravens entered the offseason with needs to address and money to spend. While they owned the sixth-most salary cap space in the league, Baltimore was surprisingly quiet in free agency, making very few external signings.

The Ravens’ run game remained dominant in 2020, but it was clear the offensive line missed former All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda, who retired last offseason.

Baltimore did manage to address that hole last week, signing former New York Giants guard Kevin Zeitler to a three-year, $22.5 million deal. A former first round selection of the Cincinnati Bengals back in 2012, the 31-year-old Zeitler has been a steady ironman throughout his career, starting 134 of a possible 144 career games.

Although they added Zeitler, the Raven did suffer another significant loss along the offensive line, as center Matt Skura signed with the Miami Dolphins in free agency. Skura had started at center for Baltimore each of the last three seasons, anchoring one of the league’s most potent rushing attacks. He had versatility as well, having started at right guard his rookie season in 2017.

Skura was not the only veteran Baltimore lost on the offensive side, as they also parted with veteran running back Mark Ingram. The 31-year-old’s days were already numbered after the Ravens selected former Ohio State standout J.K. Dobbins in the second round. After Dobbins excelled during his rookie campaign, the team opted to part ways with Ingram back in mid-January. He has since signed with the Houston Texans.

The losses on the defensive side were much more significant, as two of the Ravens top pass rushers left for handsome pay days elsewhere. Yannick Ngakoue agreed to a two-year, $26 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, while Matt Judon signed a four-year, $54.5 million deal with the New England Patriots.

While the loss of two productive pass rushers will undoubtedly be a loss for the Ravens, they were able to re-sign youthful outside linebacker Tyus Bowser on a four-year, $22 million deal. A 2017 second round selection, Bowser played well in a rotational role last season, totaling 34 tackles, four tackles-for-loss, two sacks and three interceptions. Bowser joins 2020 draft selections Patrick Queen and Malik Harrison as Baltimore’s linebacking core of the future.

Baltimore also re-signed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and defensive tackle Derek Wolfe, while convincing defensive end Calais Campbell and nose tackle Brandon Williams to take pay cuts.

The Ravens’ free agency failure came on the offensive side, where they were unable to sign additional or improved weapons for quarterback Lamar Jackson. After winning MVP in 2019, Jackson took a step back as a passer last season. He passed for 2,757 yards and 26 touchdowns with nine interceptions. He did rush for seven scores and eclipsed 1,000 yards on the ground for the second-straight season, becoming the first quarterback in league history to do so.

While the Ravens reportedly made a run at Steelers wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster, they ended up missing out on all the top free agent receivers this cycle. With the market now largely barren, April’s draft will become even more critical for Baltimore, as they try to give Jackson the supporting cast he needs.

Additions

G Kevin Zeitler

TE Josh Oliver (Acquired via trade)

C Greg Mancz

CB Chris Westry

S Geno Stone

WR Deon Cain

LB Tyus Bowser (Re-signed)

LB Chris Board (Re-signed)

LT Kristian Welch (Re-signed)

CB Khalil Dorsey (Re-signed)

C Trystan Colon-Castillo (Re-signed)

CB Davontae Harris (Re-signed)

RB Gus Edwards (Re-signed)

TE Eric Tomlinson (Re-signed)

S Jordan Richards (Re-signed)

DT Justin Ellis (Re-signed)

EDGE Pernell McPhee (Re-signed)

EDGE Tyus Bowser (Re-signed)

DT Derek Wolfe (Re-signed)

TE Nick Boyle (Re-signed)

DT Brandon Williams (Re-signed)

DE Calais Campbell (Re-signed)

Departures

WR Chris Moore

LS Morgan Cox

RB Mark Ingram

EDGE Yannick Ngakoue

EDGE Matt Judon

DT Jihan Ward

C Matt Skura

Cuts

LB L.J. Fort

RB Mark Ingram

QB Robert Griffin III

CB Davontae Harris

WR De’Anthony Thomas

CB Tramon Williams

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