2023 Baltimore Ravens Offseason Preview
Last year, the Ravens started the season hot but their efforts came skidding to a halt after Lamar Jackson got hurt. In 2022, the Ravens started hot, Jackson hurt, season over. It was the same story. They did weather the storm better the second time around, going 2-3 in games without Jackson a year after posting a 1-4 record sans the former MVP. That figure, however, doesn’t include Baltimore’s postseason loss to the Bengals. Baltimore limped into the playoffs coming off a defeat with third-string quarterback Anthony Brown drawing the start. A banged-up Tyler Huntley reclaimed the starting gig for the Wild Card Round and the team nearly upset the Bengals, but Huntley couldn’t close out a game-tying drive. Now the Ravens and Lamar Jackson are in a contract cold war as he seeks an extension.
Key Offensive Stats
- Points per game: 20.6 (19th)
- EPA per play: 0 (17th)
- Dropback EPA per play: -0.02 (21st)
- Passing yards per game: 178.8 (28th)
- Rush EPA per play: 0.03 (2nd)
- Rush yards per game: 160 (2nd)
Lamar went down with a knee injury in Week 13 and never made it back onto the field. Before that, he was putting together a season that was solid but far from elite. He ranked 12th in EPA per play and 21st in completion percent over expected. Pro Football Focus graded him as the 19th-best passer but the No. 5 overall quarterback after factoring in the value of his rushing output. The loss of Rashod Bateman didn’t do him any favors. Bateman was only averaging 57 yards through five games, but he performed extremely well by yards per route run and his deep aDOT helped cleared out space for Jackson to find other players over the middle. Between Jackson’s backslide as a passer, his eventual injury, and the loss of Bateman, Mark Andrews also took a step back. He went for just 847 yards, a drop of over 500 compared to 2022. The ground game was also a mess, with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards both missing time but running for at least five yards per carry when on the field.
Key Defensive Stats
- Points per game: 18.5 (3rd)
- EPA per play: 0 (14th)
- Dropback EPA per play: 0.05 (21st)
- Passing yards per game: 232.2 (26th)
- Rush EPA per play: -0.11 (8th)
- Rush yards per game: 92.1 (3rd)
A year after posting historically bad numbers against the pass and firing their defensive coordinator, Baltimore’s defense got back on track in 2022. Marlon Humphrey stayed healthy, intercepted three passes, and earned his third Pro Bowl nod. The Ravens were also bolstered by a handful of outside additions. Free agents signing Marcus Williams was credited with eight pass breakups and four interceptions in just 10 games. Baltimore also made a splash in the trade market, landing Roquan Smith from the Bears for a second and a fifth-round pick. Smith earned two sacks and seven TFLs before being named First-Team All-Pro.
Draft Picks (Top-150)
22nd, 86th, and 124th
Notable Free Agents
Baltimore’s cap figure includes the $32.4 million they currently have committed to Lamar. Because they used the non-exclusive tag, other teams can make contract offers to him. The Ravens then have the choice to match the offer or decline. If they decline, the offering team sends two first-round picks to Baltimore.
Bateman looked greatly improved in 2022, but the Ravens had no other options at receiver beyond him. When he went down with a season-ending Lisfranc injury, their lack of depth was easily exposed.
Gus Edwards could be on his way out of Baltimore because of his cap number and J.K. Dobbins has one year left on his contract. Dobbins didn’t appear to be fully recovered from his knee injury at any point last year.
Marcus Peters is a free agent and the Ravens haven’t drafted a consistent starter at corner since they selected Marlon Humphrey. Bringing back Peters would solve the problem for now, but it would only be a short-term fix.
Even before Jackson got hurt, it was clear Greg Roman‘s offense had run its course. Injuries at receiver and running back didn’t help, but the offense didn’t look like it had changed in three years. Roman was fired and replaced by Georgia Bulldogs offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Monken has been coaching in some capacity for over 30 years and has four years of offensive coordinator experience at the NFL level. At Georgia, Monken’s offense ranked fourth in points per game. Expect to see more passing and a versatile offense under him.
Baltimore’s offseason hinges on what happens with Jackson and his contract. The Falcons, Commanders, and Dolphins are all reportedly not interested in making an offer. Teams could also work out a sign-and-trade deal if they aren’t willing to pony up two first-round picks. This is particularly relevant for teams picking early in the draft who may be willing to give up significant draft capital but not a top-five selection. What the Ravens do with Lamar will set their course for years to come. If they are able to extract multiple first-round picks from a team while clearing up a chunk of cap space, they could turn around with a rookie quarterback and be an immediate contender again. Conversely, if Jackson doesn’t get the offers he is seeking, Baltimore could win their battle with him and get a quarterback with an MVP ceiling at a less-than-expected price.