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The Ravens best bargains

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The Ravens best bargains

As the Ravens work on long-term deals with Ray Rice and Joe Flacco, and as they continue to mold their roster, they must do so always under the specter of the salary cap.

As we noted the other day, the Ravens right now have just about 600,000 of cap space left, the lowest amount in the league. The key to success in the salary cap era is finding success on the cheap.

So, for the Ravens, who provides the most bang for the buck?

NFL.coms Brian McIntyre says it is the tight end duo of Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson.

Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson are not in the same class as the New England Patriots' dynamic tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but they're a productive one, McIntyre writes. In their second seasons in the NFL, Pitta and Dickson combined for 94 receptions, 933 yards and eight touchdowns.

Plus, as McIntyre notes, each is due to make just over 500,000 this season, making them the teams biggest bargain in his eyes.

Dickson and Pitta emerged as a de facto No. 3 receiver for the Ravens last season, with one or the other frequently lining up in the slot and each producing far more than any receiver other than Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith.

Dickson was a third-round pick out of Oregon in the 2010 draft, and Pitta, out of BYU, was taken one round later. The Ravens made a calculated gamble releasing popular Todd Heap before last season, but the Ravens wanted to cut costs and saw the potential of the two young tight ends.

Given the chance to play, they each delivered. Dickson had some ill-timed drops along the way, but still finished with 54 receptions for 528 yards and five touchdowns. Pitta seemed to develop chemistry with Flacco as the season progressed and ended up with 40 receptions for 405 yards and three scores. He also caught a touchdown in the AFC Championship game at New England.

All this for a little over 1 million total? In todays salary cap NFL, a bargain indeed.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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