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With free agency approaching, Ravens NT Brandon Williams in win-win situation

With free agency approaching, Ravens NT Brandon Williams in win-win situation

Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams has played himself into a win-win situation.

As one of the NFL’s top run-stoppers, Williams will hit free agency March 9 unless the Ravens sign him to a long-term deal, or place the franchise tag on him during the Feb. 15 – March 1 window. Don’t expect the Ravens to franchise Williams, because it would cost them nearly $14 million. However, if the Ravens want to pay Williams that much money on a one-year deal in 2017, he will be glad to take it.

“I know the numbers of the franchise tag,” Williams said Monday on Sirius XM NFL Radio. “That’s not a bad amount of money for one year. If it happens, it happens. Pretty much I just get to be on my team again for another year.

“I just want to play football. That’s really what matters to me, and take care of my family.”

Losing Williams would leave a void on the Ravens’ defensive line, and assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said during Senior Bowl week that re-signing Williams was a priority. The leverage the Ravens have is that Williams enjoys playing in Baltimore. However, Williams will turn 28 years old Feb. 21, and knows he must maximize his bargaining position. If the Ravens are unwilling to give Williams the kind of long-term deal he is looking for, another team will.

“This is my first time, obviously, in free agency, and I’m not really sure what to expect,” Williams said. “I’m just going in with a clear mind.

“Baltimore is a great place, it’s not new to me. It’s comfortable, I know the playbook, I don’t have to worry about going to another place and looking for a home for my family, school for my kids. It all comes down to me taking care of my family, taking care of my kids for the long haul. That’s what it comes down to. Baltimore knows that. I’ve talked to (coach John) Harbaugh, (general manager) Ozzie (Newsome)…The biggest thing is taking care of my family.”

Williams’ family will be taken care of. But the question remains. Will the Ravens’ be signing Williams’ checks, or someone else?

“I’m anxious to see where my life takes me in less than a month,” Williams said.  “I’m excited, my family’s excited. We’ve talked about it, been praying about it. We’re just excited to see what this new chapter in life holds, whether it’s with Baltimore or somewhere else.”

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Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

Baltimore Ravens' 2018 regular season matchups, dates and times

We've known the Ravens' 2018 preseason and regular season opponents for some time now, but the NFL finally released their full schedule with exact dates and times.

As they do every year, the Ravens will be seeing the Bengals, Steelers and Browns twice. 

For the ninth consecutive year, Week 16 and 17 will be divisional games with playoff implications.

They Ravens will also be playing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame preseason game against the Chicago Bears in Canton, Ohio, bringing an extra preseason game to their schedule.

In the regular season, the birds will be flocking south to take on the Panthers, Falcons and Titans. They haven't seen the Panthers or Falcons since 2014 - both ending in wins - and came up just short against the Titans in their 23-20 loss last season.

The Ravens will only have to travel to the west coast once when they take on the Los Angeles Chargers, who they last saw in 2015 and earned a 29-26 win.

Not including AFC North rivals, the last time the Ravens saw their remaining five home opponents they came away with wins. Hopefully history will repeat itself.

Prime-time games, which the Ravens have two of, will kick off at earlier times than in the past. Monday Night Football will now start at 8:15 p.m. while Thursday and Sunday Night Football will start at 8:20 p.m.

Ravens 2018 Regular-Season Schedule:

Week 1: Sunday, 9/9 vs. Bills, 1:00 p.m.

Week 2: Thursday, 9/13 @ Bengals, 8:20 p.m.

Week 3: Sunday, 9/23 vs. Broncos. 1:00 p.m.

Week 4: Sunday, 9/30 @ Steelers, 8:20 p.m.

Week 5: Sunday, 10/7 @ Browns, 1:00 p.m.

Week 6: Sunday 10/14 @ Titans, 4:25 p.m.

Week 7: Sunday, 10/21 vs. Saints, 4:05 p.m.

Week 8: Sunday 10/28 @ Panthers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 9: Sunday 11/4 vs. Steelers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 10:  BYE week

Week 11: Sunday 11/18 vs. Bengals, 1:00 p.m.

Week 12: Sunday 11/25 vs. Raiders, 1:00 p.m.

Week 13: Sunday 12/2 @ Falcons, 1:00 p.m.

Week 14: Sunday 12/9 @ Chiefs, 1:00 p.m.

Week 15: Sunday 12/16 vs. Buccaneers, 1:00 p.m.

Week 16: Saturday 12/22 or Sunday 12/23 @ Chargers, TBD

Week 17: Sunday 12/30 vs. Browns, 1:00 p.m.


PRESEASON 

Hall of Fame Game: Thurs., 8/2, vs. Chicago Bears (Canton, OH), 8:00pm (NBC).

Week 1: Thurs., 8/9, vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: Mon. 8/20,  at Indianapolis Colts (Monday Night Football, ESPN).

Week 3: at Miami Dolphins*

Week 4: Thurs., 8/30 at Washington Redskins

* - Game date and time not yet determined

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

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As 2018 NFL Draft approaches, Ravens to host QB Lamar Jackson per report

With 10 days until the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to visit the Ravens this week, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. 

The former Heisman Trophy winner is a projected first-round pick as he has proven to have success in the air and on the ground. 

While at Louisville, Jackson had 9,043 passing yards and 69 touchdowns. He also rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns. His NFL draft profile compares him to Michael Vick. 

RELATED: BEST QUOTES FROM RAVENS PRE-DRAFT PRESS CONFERENCE

The Ravens are in search of Joe Flacco's successor, but spending a first-round pick on a quarterback when there are other glaring needs is up in the air. However, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta isn't ruling out the possibility

"I feel like if there is a guy there that we think is really too good to pass up, we're going to take him," DeCosta told the team's website on the chance of drafting a quarterback in the first-round.

At their pre-draft press conference, GM Ozzie Newsome and DeCosta kept reiterating we could be surprised by who they pick at No. 16, if they do at all. 

While Jackson's numbers are impressive, he continues to be considered a late first-round pick as his build isn't up to typical NFL QB standards and scouts are concerned with his accuracy. What he does have in his favor is speed.

While fans are hoping for an offensive weapon, having Jackson learn under Flacco for a year (and maybe RGIII?) could rev up some excitement. 

RELATED: RGIII READY TO MOVE FORWARD AS NEW, GROWN PLAYER