NFL Ravens 

Baltimore active on the start of free agency

 

The Baltimore Ravens are typically quiet when the free agency market opens every year, they’ve been known to take more of a sit-back approach until the market clears a little.

This year however, they have been active within the first 24 hours of the new league year. Less than an hour after the 4pm start time of free agency, the Ravens cut Elvis Dumervil, Shareece Wright, Kendrick Lewis, and Lardarius Webb. Former Ravens right tackle Rick Wagner agreed to a deal with the Detriot Lions, guard Vladimir Ducasse signed a deal with the Buffalo Bills, and ProBowler fullback Kyle Juszczyk signed with the San Francisco 49ers.

It wasn’t all about players leaving Baltimore, they finalized a deal to bring back backup quarterback Ryan Mallet and by day’s end, they signed their biggest free agent priority.

The Ravens first free-agent addition this offseason when they surprisingly signed former Los Angeles Chargers running back Danny Woodhead to a 3-year deal. He’s coming off an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear which he suffered in the second game of the 2016 season. The signing of Woodhead comes at the perfect time after the Ravens were notified of the four-game suspension of Kenneth Dixon for PED use on Thursday, the former Charger is cheaper and possibly better than Kyle Juszczyk in the role of a short yardage back and definitely a threat on third down. He brings experience to a young running back group while presenting matchup problems for defenses with the passing game out the backfield. While there are many positives to his signing, his health is something to keep in mind as he’s been bit by the injury bug in past years.

 

The new face in the @Ravens backfield? @JoeFlacco gets to give the ball to @danny__woodhead in Baltimore! https://t.co/755CBn6rbp

The Ravens followed that up by securing arguably the top safety on the market for the second straight year straight by landing Tony Jefferson. Formerly a member of the Arizona Cardinals, Jefferson signed a 4-year $36 million contract. The 25-year-old is the hard-hitting safety Baltimore traditionally desires. Last season he played in 15 games, starting 14  while totaling 74 tackles(18 assisted) 5 pass deflections, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumbles recoveries, and 2 sacks. Baltimore now boasts one of the better safety tandems in the league with Eric Weddle and Jefferson, the back-end is now secure while the focus shifts to the guys in front of them.

Baltimore had difficult decisions to make with veteran receivers Mike Wallace and Kamar Aiken. As it pertains to Wallace, they had the option to pick up his 1-year team option (which would count $8 million against the cap), or cut him and save $5.75 million in cap-space. The Ravens decided to pick up his option which most likely leads to Aiken signing with another team. Keeping Wallace for another year brings back the leading receiver on the team and the veteran leader of the current wide receiver group. He’s joined on the perimeter by Breshad Perriman, Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore, Vince Mayle, Kenny Bell, Chris Matthews and Keenan Reynolds. Matthews and Reynolds are both exclusive-rights free agents, while eight million is a sizable price tag, Baltimore couldn’t afford to lose their most experienced pass catcher.  

#Ravens are picking up the contract option for WR Mike Wallace to return in 2017, per team.

The final move for the Ravens on the first day of free agency was their biggest thus far, they retained their standout nose tackle Brandon Williams. The two sides reached an agreement in principle with the standout nose tackle on a five-year, $54 million contract that includes $27.5 million guaranteed which easily surpasses the New York Giants’ Damon Harrison (five years for $46.25 million with $24 million guaranteed) as the highest-paid nose tackle in the NFL. Willams has totaled 156 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, 3 pass deflections, and 3 forced fumbles since he was drafted by the Ravens in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Missouri Southern.

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