Between now and the start of the new league year in March, TGS is providing brief summaries looking ahead at the offseason from the perspective of each NFL team. In this edition, we look at the Baltimore Ravens.
2016 record: 8-8 — 2nd place, AFC North
What’s new? Veteran wide receiver and pass-catching robot Steve Smith has retired.
Projected salary cap space: $15 million — Only four teams have less money to spend.
Key in-house free agents: FB Kyle Juszczyk, OT Ricky Wagner, NT Brandon Williams
Juszczyk is a Pro Bowler and one of the best all-around fullbacks in the NFL, the 27-year-old Wagner was their best offensive lineman in 2016 and Williams has been a steady starter up front for three years running.
Key needs: Pass-rushers, front-seven defenders (Williams could be gone and linebacker Zachary Orr suddenly retired for injury reasons), a receiver to help replace Smith and probably an offensive lineman or two (depending on what happens with Wagner).
Draft breakdown: They hold the No. 16 overall pick and have one selection per round the rest of the way.
Other potential priorities: The might want to rework cornerback Jimmy Smith’s deal in order to free up some cash. Smith’s cap hit for 2017 is $12.6 million but he’s under contract through 2019.
Outlook: This is a good team, but I’m not sure they have the resources to go from good to great this offseason.