The Baltimore Ravens have long been an organization confident in its roster-building strategy, one that allows for the natural turnover of the roster by being willing to let high-priced free agents go and finding replacements for them through a variety of means—both through the draft and in veteran free agency, often among players who have been released.
They have long been active and conscious about the compensatory draft pick formula. It is telling, to that end, that they have been awarded more total compensatory draft picks than any other team in the league—even though compensatory picks have been handed out longer than the organization has been around.
The 2023 NFL Draft, however, will not be a banner year for their strategy; indeed, they are positioned to gain no compensatory draft picks at all, as things currently stand, in spite of the fact that they have already lost nine compensatory free agents.
The problem is not so much that they have been going on a shopping spree themselves. They have only signed three outside free agents thus far, and only two of them are compensatory free agents, though both certainly qualify for the formula based on salary.
Yet of the nine compensatory free agents that they have lost this offseason, none of signed a multi-year contract, and the largest deal anybody has signed for has only amounted to $4 million. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins just agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with the Green Bay Packers. Cornerback Anthony Averett also signed a one-year, $4 million deal with the Las Vegas Raiders.
These are the only two contracts that might realistically qualify for the compensatory formula when all is said and done, and even then, it’s not a guarantee that it will register relative to the other deals signed around the league. As you’ll recall, Joe Haeg was on the borderline of qualifying based on playing time.
But it doesn’t matter, anyway, as their contracts are canceled out by the compensatory acquisitions of safety Marcus Williams and tackle Morgan Moses, both of whom received contracts large enough that there will be no question of their qualifying against them.
This was not the biggest market for Ravens free agents in team history, but there was some potential for at least a few players to score some contracts. That center Bradley Bozeman only signed a one-year deal worth under $3 million was certainly a surprise, for example.
Bozeman is their only chance of gaining a compensatory pick at this point, provided that the bottom of the 32 compensatory selections allotted this year plays out for them. His average salary signed for is right at the borderline of being in the running, and that would be for the second-to-last pick in the seventh round.
The last time the Ravens did not have a compensatory pick was in 2017, and there have only been a few years in total during which they had none; typically, they will have three or four, four being the maximum allowed (minus compensatory picks for losses of minority head coaches and general managers, as of the 2021 NFL Draft).
Baltimore will have three compensatory picks this year, including another third for the 2021 loss of David Culley as head coach of the Houston Texans, which obviously worked out great. They will also have two fourth-round compensatory picks for the losses of Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue.
Some of the notable players they have selected as compensatory picks in the past include Bradley Bozeman, Nick Boyle, Ryan Jensen, Rick Wagner, Kyle Juszczyk, Pernell McPhee, Le’Ron McClain, and Sam Koch.