Five thoughts on free agency so far from a Ravens perspective:
1. Parting ways with left tackle Eugene Monroe at this point seems like too risky a move.
Left tackle is too important of a position to trust with just anyone. Monroe seems like a better option than signing free agent left tackles on the market like Kelvin Beachum, Russell Okung, or Donald Penn. The Ravens would be better off keeping Monroe, and using the No. 6 pick on a defensive player who can make an instant impact, rather than drafting an offensive lineman like Ronnie Stanley of Notre Dame at No. 6
2. The fact Courtney Upshaw did not sign with anyone quickly was a good sign for the Ravens.
The Ravens want Upshaw back. Free agency is fluid, but apparently nobody made Upshaw an early offer he couldn’t refuse. Upshaw does the dirty work at outside linebacker, setting the edge and playing tough run defense. If the Ravens re-sign him, it’s a plus for the defense.
3. Nobody in the AFC North is in worst shape than the Browns.
That’s not a news flash. But losing offensive linemen Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz; receiver Travis Benjamin and safety Tashaun Gipson leaves the Browns with more holes to fill. Yes, the Browns were bad last season. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get worse.
4. The Ravens’ reputation around the NFL remains solid with players, despite their 5-11 record in 2015.
Tight end Ben Watson, who should be a nice addition for the Ravens, had this to say after signing a two-year, $8 million deal.
“There are certain teams in the NFL who have a certain aura about them…even if they didn’t have the greatest year or whatever, you know that that team is going to be competitive overall,” Watson said. “You know you’re going to have to play well if you want to win against that team. To be here and to be part of that is exciting for me.”
When the Ravens want to land a player, general manager Ozzie Newsome doesn’t have to do a selling job about the benefits of coming to Baltimore. That’s an edge some teams don’t have.
5. The Ravens aren’t sorry to see the Bengals lose wide receiver Marvin Jones.
In two games against the Ravens last season, Jones had 10 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. A. J. Green is the wide receiver who really kills the Ravens, but Jones does his share of damage. He’s a nice pickup for the Lions after Calvin Johnson’s retirement. And with Jones and Mohamed Sanu (Falcons) both leaving the Bengals, maybe the Ravens’ secondary will have a little more success dealing with Green.
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