Latest NFL Leads

Baltimore Ravens Going All-In Before They Have to pay Lamar Jackson

Ryan Phillips
Lamar Jackson, Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Lamar Jackson, Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
facebooktwitter

The Baltimore Ravens opened NFL free agency with a splash, making three big signings that will have a serious impact on the team in 2022. It's clear from the moves they've made that the Ravens are going all-in to win before they have to pay Lamar Jackson big money.

The Ravens inked former New York Jets tackle Morgan Moses to an incredibly affordable three-year, $15 million deal. Pro Football Focus gave Moses a solid grade of 71.0 in 2021, and he'll slot in at right tackle across from All-Pro LT Ronnie Stanley -- assuming Stanley returns from a devastating ankle injury.

Baltimore also went out and grabbed a familiar face, inking edge rusher Za'Darius Smith to a four-year, $35 million deal that could be worth far more if incentives are met. Smith missed all of the 2021 regular season for the Green Bay Packers thanks to a nagging back injury. He was healthy and activated for the playoffs, though. He'll be expected to help the Ravens get to opposing quarterbacks after they only totaled 34 sacks in 2021. Smith had 13.5 sacks in 2019 and 12.5 sacks in 2020 for the Packers. The 29-year-old started his career with the Ravens as a fourth-round pick out of Kentucky in 2015.

The team's biggest signing was landing safety Marcus Williams on a five-year, $70 million deal. Williams is one of the league's best defensive backs, and PFF gave him a grade of 80.1 for 2021. The 25-year-old has 15 interceptions during his five-year career spent entirely with the New Orleans Saints and should give John Harbaugh & Co. a leader at the back of the defense.

Lamar Jackson is set to make $23 million this year on the final season of his rookie contract. It's almost certain the Ravens will extend the former MVP before the offseason is over. But while he is still on that rookie deal, they're going to push to load up with as much firepower as they can.

The Ravens still have more work to do. They need to find a defensive tackle, another cornerback and could use more offensive line help. It also wouldn't hurt to find Jackson another receiving target. Luckily, they have the 14th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and four picks inside the top 102.

Baltimore is making the moves it needs to make to address the holes on its roster. After a disappointing 8-9 season, the Ravens look like a serious bounce-back candidate in 2022.

facebooktwitter