The start of the 2019 NFL free agency was a grim prospect for any Baltimore Ravens fan. It featured a mass clear out of their notorious and number one ranked defensive talent.
Beloved defensive team members who have proved vital to the Ravens in recent years, such as C.J. Mosley (105 tackles in 2018) and Terrell Suggs (132.5 career sacks), as well as Eric Weddle (36 career takeaways) and Za’Darius Smith (8.5 sacks last season), have all found new homes in the offseason.
Even the Ravens offence will look different come September. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was cut after one season, and WR John Brown is now a Buffalo Bills player. A lot of work will need to be done in replacing the wide receiver contingent to assist now full-time quarter back Lamar Jackson, after former QB Joe Flacco’s departure to the Denver Broncos.
But there was some light at the end of the tunnel for the Baltimore Ravens. Day 3 saw the Ravens rebound, signing safety Earl Thomas from the Seattle Seahawks for $55 million. Thomas is a Hall of Famer, with excellent playmaking skills.
For the Ravens, Thomas could prove a like for like replacement for exiting safety Eric Weddle. Thomas, as a veteran safety, comes with the potential leadership to assist some of the younger, inexperienced team members and QB.
Also missing from the Ravens current lineup is a reliable running back. They saw a solution to this problem in Mark Ingram, former New Orleans RB. This is reported to be a three-year deal worth $15 million, which is an impressive price tag considering the going rate of other running backs who have signed in the off season. Ingram should prove a good fit to Jackson’s aggressive playing style. Also promising is the resigning of tight end Nick Boyle, on a three year contract extension worth around $18 million.
While these new signings look promising and will certainly help the departing roster, new general manger Eric DeCosta will have his work cut out for him filling the gaps of talented former players if the Ravens want to make it to the playoffs. Especially given the daunting offensive line up of the Cleveland Browns, who now feature the likes of Odell Beckham Jr. and Kareem Hunt, and are likely to be the hot new favourites for the AFC North title.