The Ravens are headed for perhaps the most unusual free agent shopping period in their history.

Usually, fans obsess over which players general manager Eric DeCosta might target to fortify weak areas on the team’s roster, with wide receiver, cornerback and left guard topping the list for 2023. But such questions will be afterthoughts compared with the ongoing intrigue around quarterback Lamar Jackson, who will be free to sign an offer sheet with another team starting Wednesday.

Will such an offer materialize? Would the Ravens match it within five days and finally lock in their most important player? Or will a resolution remain elusive, creating uncertainty around every other move DeCosta would like to make?

The Ravens cannot, however, afford to treat Jackson’s contract as the only issue at hand. They still have to build a playoff-caliber team for next season, and they will have to do it with a budget pinched by the $32.4 million allotted to Jackson under the nonexclusive franchise tag.

“It’s not going to be a situation where the market’s open, and we’re just going and signing guys left and right,” DeCosta said at his season-ending news conference in January. “That’s not going to happen in any way — there’s really no scenario [where] that’s probably going to be the case. We’ll be selective, we’ll be targeted, and we’ll find guys like we always do that we think can build this team and help us be the best we can be.”

With that in mind, here’s a look at the talent available at positions of need for the Ravens and at the players who might fit them best:

Wide receiver

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said this will likely be the position group overhauled most after another unproductive, injury-marred season in 2023. This is not a strong free agent class, so if the Ravens are to make a splash, the draft might be a more likely avenue.

Best player available: Jakobi Meyers is no one’s idea of a prototypical No. 1 wide receiver, but he’s an excellent technician with a 6-foot-2 frame, reliable hands and a record of consistent production for the New England Patriots. He would help the Ravens but will almost certainly fall outside their price range.

Best fit for Ravens: Allen Lazard is built like a tight end and grades as one of the best run blockers at his position, so he would fit seamlessly with the way the Ravens …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Ravens free agency guide: Prepare for limited action as focus remains on QB Lamar Jackson and his potential suitors

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