We have spent the last couple of months exhaustively examining the pending free agency period from the Pittsburgh Steelers’ perspective, but we haven’t nearly discussed what’s going on around the rest of the AFC North enough, so from now until the start of free agency, we will be taking a look at the free agency picture for the Baltimore Ravens, the Cleveland Browns, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Team: Baltimore Ravens
Cap Number: $140,001,517
Key Free Agents:
Torrey Smith: The problem for the Ravens with Torrey Smith is that he probably makes more sense for the Ravens than for anybody else, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will make him come cheaper. After releasing Jacoby Jones, they’re not exactly awash in wide receiver talent at the moment. This is probably one that they want to get done.
Pernell McPhee: It seems unlikely that Pernell McPhee will be back with the Ravens. Not only are they deep at the position, McPhee is reportedly looking for a handsome fee for his services, and the Ravens don’t have that kind of cap space to spare.
Justin Forsett: Baltimore would love to keep Justin Forsett, who blossomed last season in the Ravens’ running scheme, having a career year by far. If the Ravens lose him, then they’re likely to draft a running back this year.
Owen Daniels: Owen Daniels had himself a nice season in his first year away from Baltimore, as the offense used him effectively with Gary Kubiak at the helm. But he’s gone, and Daniels may be gone too, with Dennis Pitta returning.
Jacoby Jones: Despite the lack of quality depth at the position, Jones’ salary and spat of fumbles likely got him cut. Plus, the Ravens are not in as good of shape as they typically are with the cap.
Chris Canty: Chris Canty’s value to the team dropped significantly with the quality of play from some of the Ravens’ young interior defensive linemen.
Other: Terrence Cody was also released, but he was due to be a free agent, so was not included above. The Ravens have no choice but to do something with Haloti Ngata, which could include releasing him. Doing so would clear a whopping $8.5 million in cap space prior to displacement, as that is his base salary for this season.
The Ravens played mix and match at safety, as well as cornerback, for much of last season. They will likely try to retain a couple of those players, if not pursue others in free agency. Running back could be a target if Forsett is not re-signed.
Perhaps the Ravens’ main target in free agency, if they choose to target players from other teams, will be the wide receiver position, as they desperately need to surround Joe Flacco with talent. Smith has shown to be a deep threat, but somebody more reliable underneath other than the fading Steve Smith would probably serve him well.