Projected Lineups: Baltimore Ravens
Be it the result of a Super Bowl hangover, a mass of roster changes, or just down to an offense that failed to deliver much in 2013, the Baltimore Ravens trundled their way to an 8-8 record that left fans disappointed.
The team hired Gary Kubiak to be their new offensive coordinator recently and, given his track record there is cause for optimism there. They do have holes at key positions, however, and will have to take a sensible approach to fill those needs without putting themselves in a tough spot cap wise.
Here’s where they currently stand with unrestricted free agents removed from the lineup:
– Player markers are colored per class on a six-step ‘Poor’ to ‘High Quality’ scale based on their overall performance and the league’s elite are marked separately in blue.
– Colored outlines suggest a potential change in class.
– Underlined players will be 30+ years old for the 2014 season.
– Red player names suggest injury risks.
– Click on the image to enlarge.
– Joe Flacco was an interesting player to debate in that his overall play balances out as average without him often being average. More likely to look either poor or good, he has shown that he can be a very good quarterback, last season’s Super Bowl run proves that, but far too often he just isn’t that player.
– Given how often Kubiak likes to run two tight end sets, it’s concerning that the only player at the position currently on the roster is Matt Furstenburg. Dennis Pitta is likely to be one of their top priorities, but even if they are able to bring him back, they’ll still need more help at the position.
– It’s going to be interesting to see what they do on the offensive line, with starting tackles Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher as free-agents-to-be. That would leave Ricky Wagner and Kelechi Osemele as the starters, which is less than ideal. What they’ll want to do is bring in two players at tackle, allowing Osemele to slide back in to guard, though Monroe’s play after arriving in Baltimore will have driven his price up.
– With Daryl Smith slated to become a free agent it leaves the team with some questions at inside linebacker. Jameel McClain isn’t a capable starter at this point in his career while Arthur Brown didn’t see enough of the field to get a true reading on him in his rookie season.
– Lardarius Webb took his lumps in a comeback season from yet another knee injury, at this point he is a capable starter but if he can comeback as well as he did last time there’s little to stop him forcing himself into that elite bracket.
2014 Cap Situation
Healthy enough. With $11.9million available they are right in the middle of the pack and, while it’s not enough for them to be plotting some huge moves, they do have enough room to sign their own draft picks and have some wiggle room to create more space.
Cutting McClain would leave them with some dead money, but would net them $3.2m in savings, something that seems too good to pass up on given his level of play at this stage. Terrell Suggs would be a controversial cut, but they have already indicated that they won’t keep him at his current contract and saving $7.8m would allow them to plug some holes elsewhere. Cutting punter Sam Koch and full back Vonta Leach would save $1.6m and $1.75m respectively but outside of that there aren’t many more logical savings to be made.
Opportunities from the Roster
Defensive end DeAngelo Tyson (+1.8) is the next man up at defensive end and showed himself to be solid against the run on limited snaps in 2013. Fellow defensive lineman Brandon Williams (+4.0) was also stout against the run in limited duty, and should see an increase in snaps next year. Inside linebacker Josh Bynes (+2.3) was decent against the run, and could fit in a two-down role again next year. Wide Receiver Marlon Brown (-0.9) had a solid rookie campaign and, while the offense would benefit from improving at the position, he should still have an important role going forward. On the offensive line, Wagner had a solid season and his development this offseason will likely determine if he gets the opportunity to start in 2014.
Projected lineups by team:
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