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Who stays and who goes? Looking at Ravens hitting free agency market

USA Today Sports

Who stays and who goes? Looking at Ravens hitting free agency market

The start of the new league year is upon us.

The tampering period has already begun and on March, 14th at 4:00 p.m. ET, all 2017 players contracts expire and teams can officially sign and seek free agents.

Free agency can be a frenzy, and in the past, the Ravens have casually dipped their toes in the pool.

2018 should be no exception considering the team is in desperate need of weapons.

At his annual State of the Ravens press conference, owner Steve Bisciotti said, "I think that there is a really good chance that we won’t be drafting a defensive tackle in the first round," Bisciotti said. "We will be exploring all options in free agency and in the draft for targets for Joe [Flacco]."

On the flip side, what about current Ravens who are set to hit the open market this week? 

The front office will have to decided on the future of nine of their current players.

Many are destined to be let go while others will take more contemplation.

They begun the process last week when they re-signed DE Brent Urban to a one-year deal and on Monday, re-signing OT James Hurst to a four-year, $17.5 million contract.

They have already released right tackle Austin Howard, RB Danny Woodhead and S Lardarius Webb.

Who else stays and who goes? 


Mike Wallace: 

Over two seasons with the Ravens, Wallace had 124 receptions, 209 targets, 1,765 yards and eight touchdowns, making him their No. 1 receiver.

Wallace signed a $11.5 million contract back in 2016, but this offseason money isn't the priority.

The wide receiver is entering his 10th season and has yet to win a Super Bowl. Where he lands in 2018 will be very dependent on where he feels like he can win a championship.

I have made a lot of money, Wallace said. You are not going to play for pennies, but at the same time, that [money] is not the most important thing to me. I want to win. That is going to be my key, just putting myself in the best situation that I can to win a Super Bowl. Hopefully it is here, but like I said, football is business. You never know how things are going to go.

Wallace is clearly the teams most reliable receiver. If they are looking to keep one of their own, he's their best option. 

Benjamin Watson: 

After signing a two-year deal worth $7 million, Watson missed the 2016 season with injury. But in 2017, the 37-year old had 61 receptions for 522 yards and four touchdowns. 

The TE has mentioned that he is mulling retirement and the Ravens will most likely want to make room for a free agent TE like Jimmy Graham. 


Ryan Jensen: 

The center should be at the top of the re-sign list, but keeping him could be costly.

Jensen took over center when John Urschel abruptly retired Day 1 of training camp, and since then, he's had quite an effect.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jensen had the highest single game run-blocking grade among centers in 2017 at 97 percent in Week 5 and was the 13th-best center in the league.

The 26-year old signed a 1-year, $1.8 million contract last year and with the combination of talent and age, Jensen could get a sizable contract elsewhere.

“It’s been an awesome five years and I hope to be back here, but I’m going to see where life takes me," Jensen said. "I’m going to go with the ebbs and flows of life.”

The one major roadblock for the Ravens is their cap flexibility in 2018, which they've been creating room for by releasing free agents right tackle Austin Howard, RB Danny Woodhead and safety Lardarius Webb.

Terrance West:

The Towson grad only played five games in 2017 after suffering a calf injury brining his season to a halt. In stepped Alex Collins who became the teams leading rusher. 

West earned $1.79 million in 2017, but the Ravens have a lot of depth at running back in Alex Collins, Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon, who is expected to return after suffering a torn meniscus. An interesting running back competition could be brewing. 

Michael Campanaro: 

It's been reported that the Ravens are interested in re-signing the WR and punt returner. 

Campanaro finished 2017 with 19 receptions, 27 targets, 173 yards and one touchdown. Injuries have been an issue for Campanaro over the years, but he led the AFC in punt returns last year.

The Silver Spring native signed a one-year, $1.2 million deal in 2017 and a similar deal could be expected.

Crockett Gillmore:

It has also been reported that the Ravens have spoken to Gillmore about returning.

Gillmore's experience comes at tight end, but it seems as if he will be transitioning to offensive line. The 26-year old missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing MCL surgery and only played seven games in 2016. Injury, too, has tampered with his potential. 

Gillmore signed a four-year contract worth $2 million and some change back in 2014. A short-term deal could also be expected for Gillmore considering the team doesn't know how he'll fare on the O-line.

Other minor free agents:

Steven Johnson: The LB made appearances in 11 games with only five tackles. He's currently on a one-year, $775,000 deal.

Brandon Boykin: The Ravens signed the CB in June of 2017 and he spent the entire season on IR. Baltimore was his fifth team in two-years. Boykin was on a one-year, $775,000 deal. 

Luke Bowanko: The center was traded to the Ravens from the Jacksonville Jaguars for an undisclosed draft pick back in September of 2017.  Bowanko played in 16 games for the Ravens, only starting in one. If Ryan Jensen goes elsewhere, Bowanko will become very valuable. He can also shift to right guard or left guard.


March Madness 2018: Latest National Championship betting odds

USA Today Sports

March Madness 2018: Latest National Championship betting odds

There are not many tasks in life more difficult than setting the perfect March Madness bracket. 

The odds of picking the perfect bracket is less than one in 9.2 quintilian, so good luck with that. 

In fact, you have a better chance of becoming an astronaut for NASA, picking a four-leaf clover or making an albatross then you do predicting the NCAA tournament outcome. 

So with that optimism in mind, let's take a look at the odds the top-ranked teams have to win the big dance, that may help you beat the bracket odds.


By rank to win National Championship: Indicates Vegas odds

1. Virginia Cavaliers  (10-1) +500

2. Villanova Wildcats (7-1) +450

3. Kansas Jayhawks (18-1) +1200

4. Xavier Musketeers (14-1) +2200

5. North Carolina Tar Heels (13-1) +1800

6. Duke Blue Devils (8-1) +650

7. Purdue Boilermakers (28-1) +1500

8. Cincinnati Bearcats (45-1) +2200

9. Michigan State Spartans (9-1) +750

10. Tennessee Volunteers (48-1) +6000

11. Michigan Wolverines (25-1) +1000

12. Texas Tech Red Raiders (32-1) +4500

13. Auburn Tigers (99-1) +6500

14. Wichita State Shockers (80-1) +4500

15. Gonzaga Bulldogs (15-1) +2500

16. Arizona Wildcats (20-1) +1200

17. Kentucky (30-1) +2800

18. West Virginia Mountaineers (60-1) +4000

19. Clemson Tigers (100-1) +20000

20. Ohio State Buckeyes (125-1) +8000


The Locals: 

31. Virginia Tech Hokies (15,000-1) +50000

63. UMBC Retrievers (6,500,000-1) +30000

65. Radford Highlanders (8,000,000-1) +100000



Click here to join NBC Sports Washington’s NCAA Tournament Bracket Challenge and compete against Tony Massenburg and Walt Williams for a chance to win big.

Grand Prize: If you have the highest-scoring bracket in the NBC Sports Washington Bracket Challenge, you will win four (4) lower Wizards tickets to the 4/10 Celtics @ Wizards game, an autographed Bradley Beal jersey and a 60” 4K TV!

Secondary Prize: If your bracket scores higher than both Tony Massenburg and Walt Williams, you'll get a coupon code for a free regular Jersey Mike's sub!

WANT MORE COLLEGE HOOPS? Join @TroyMachir for the March Only podcast, a month-long podcast with some of the best and brightest minds in college basketball. Subscribe on iTunes and listen below.

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2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup 4.0: Post-combine edition

USA Today Sports

2018 NFL Mock Draft Ravens Roundup 4.0: Post-combine edition

The NFL Combine has come and gone and with that causes a rise or fall in prospects NFL dreams.

Running back Saquon Barkley amazed scouts with his complete domination while Ravens mock draft favorite, Orlando Brown, disappointed many with his 5.85 40-yard dash.

With the combine behind us, we can start to get a clearer picture of who organizations could legitimately be drafting.

It can also cause a significant shuffle in mock drafts. 

Here is what pundits are now predicting for the Ravens at No. 16 post-combine.


NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig (Link)

— Marcus Davenport (DE)

Coming out of University Texas-San Antonio, the 6-6, 255 pound defensive end is unlikely to be taken at No.16.

Why? Owner Steve Bisciotti said at his State of the Ravens press conference, "I think that there is a really good chance that we won’t be drafting a defensive tackle in the first round."

It would be safe to say an offensive player will be of much more importance to the team in the first-round than another defensive one.

— Kerryon Johnson (RB)

Standig does have the Ravens taking an offensive player at No. 52. 

The running back out of Auburn rushed for 1,391 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2017.

At the combine, Johnson ran a 7.07-second three-cone drill and a 4.29-second 20-yard shuttle. His NFL comparison is that of Tevin Coleman.

CBS Sports (Link)

— Derrius Guice (RB)

While fans are hoping for a wide receiver, a running back would be another good offensive weapon option for Flacco.

Guice rushed for 1,251 yards in 2017. He also had 18 receptions for 124 yards and 13 total touchdowns.

At the combine, Guice ran the 40 in 4.49 seconds, had 15 reps on bench press and a 31.5-inch vertical jump. His draft profile compares him to Marshawn Lynch. Not too shabby. 


— Baker Mayfield (QB) says the Ravens need to be in rebuild mode, starting with the QB. 

Mayfield is a obviously a well-known draft name, but could still be around at No. 16 with the 2018 draft being a hot QB class. 

At the combine, Mayfield ran a 4.84 40-yard dash and was a top performer with a 4.28 20-yard shuttle. 

Mayfield would be expected to learn under Flacco until his era came to an end. 

Land of 10 (Link)

— Orlando Brown (OT) 

Brown's combine performance didn't go as he and scouts had planned. 

His 5.85 40-yard dash left many disappointed. He put up 14 reps on bench press, with a 19.5-inch vertical and a 82-inch broad jump. 

At the end of the day, his height and massive frame is what's going to continue to entice teams. 

ESPN, Bleacher Report, Sporting News

— Calvin Ridley (WR)

Ridley is seen as the only real first-round WR in the 2018 draft and the Ravens may not want to let him go for just that reason.

He, too, had an underwhelming combine running a 4.43 40-yard dash, recording a 31-inch vertical, a 110-inch broad jump and a 6.88-second three-cone drill. 

The bottom line on his draft profile says, "Ridley has game-changing talent complete with blazing speed and rare route-running ability for a college prospect. He ran the full route tree at Alabama, has experience working in a pro-style attack and is a plug-and-play starter on day one. He must improve his ability to defeat press corners off the snap or he'll become a feast or famine target. Ridley's elite speed and separation talent gives him the potential to become one of the more productive and dangerous receivers in the league."

Even with a mediocre combine, Ridley could bring a breath of fresh air to the Ravens' WR corps.

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