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Baltimore Ravens had the 18th best offseason in the NFL, according to ESPN analyst

Baltimore Ravens had the 18th best offseason in the NFL, according to ESPN analyst

ESPN's Bill Barnwell released a big-picture look into how each organization did during their acquisition period of the offseason. Factoring in aspects such as roster, cap situation, future draft capital at the beginning of the offseason to what teams have in mid-May, team needs, as well as many other factors, the list is quite intriguing. 

According to Barnwell, the Ravens had the 18th best offseason in the NFL. Here are three reasons for their rank in his list:

Retooled Defense

The additions of NFL veterans like former Jacksonville Jaguars star, Calais Campbell, and former Denver Broncos' defensive end, Derek Wolfe, this Ravens defensive line is hopefully on pace to remain consistent after moving on from interior lineman, Michael Pierce. Barnwell, amongst many others, loved the selection of LSU's stud linebacker, Patrick Queen, to replace 4x Pro-Bowler C.J. Mosley. "Baltimore has found its long-term replacement for Mosley," he said.

The Ravens, Barnwell noted, have built out a "devastating defensive line," in the offseason, which earned them high marks.

Pass Rusher(s) Needed

Baltimore hasn't reached a deal with Matthew Judon, which means it's likely he'll sign an extension with the club any time soon (he hasn't even signed the tag). However, Barnwell says "even if Judon returns, they could still use another pass-rusher." 

Insert Jadeveon Clowney. Will Baltimore pursue the pass-rusher? Probably not, Barnwell believes.

"Clowney might be too rich for their blood," he said. "Although I'd love to see them use what will likely be the last bargain year on Lamar Jackson's deal to stretch Clowney onto their roster." 

Oliver Vernon? Ziggy Ansah? Older options, as well as shells of themselves, so the Ravens will probably roll with who they have. 

Insurance

Ronnie Stanley is due for a payday soon, and with the record-setting contract Houston Texans Laremy Tunsil just signed, the Ravens might have to once again reset the market and pay up -- big time. 

Stanley may also hold the keys to Baltimore getting the pass rusher they need, according to Barnwell. 

"If the team can bring Stanley's 2020 cap figure down from $12.9 million," he said, "it might have just enough space for Clowney." 

All in all, with the Ravens being a pillar of consistency in the NFL, especially when it comes to the draft,  Barnwell had high praise for their offseason moves - even if it didn't get them very high on the list.

Read Barnwell's column here.

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How does Patrick Mahomes' mega-extension impact the Ravens and Lamar Jackson?

How does Patrick Mahomes' mega-extension impact the Ravens and Lamar Jackson?

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has agreed to a massive 10-year mega-extension with the Kansas City Chiefs, a deal that ESPN's Adam Schefter has classified as the "richest in NFL history."

In Kansas City, fans rejoiced. The best quarterback in the NFL is under contract for their favorite team for the next 12 seasons.

But in Baltimore? Ravens fans likely immediately thought about Lamar Jackson and the potential deal he could command next offseason.

Jackson is entering his third NFL season and currently is in a similar position to where Mahomes was just a year prior. While they have different playing styles, the career arc through each of their first two seasons has plenty of similarities.

Both quarterbacks sat for the majority of their rookie seasons before becoming their respective team's starter the following year. In each of their first full seasons as the starting quarterback, Mahomes and Jackson led their respective squads to the No. 1 seed in the AFC while earning NFL MVP honors along the way. Both of them even graced the cover of Madden following their MVP seasons, too.

What Jackson does as a curtain call for his incredible 2019 campaign will certainly impact his future contract. Mahomes parlayed his MVP season in 2018 to a Super Bowl title and MVP last year, which confirmed Kansas City's belief in the need to invest in the QB long-term.

Baltimore is expected to be one of the NFL's best teams once again this fall, and Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has publicly stated he expects Jackson to make a leap as a passer in 2020.

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As far as how much Jackson will make, it's unjust to put him in the same ballpark as Mahomes at this time -- the Chiefs passer has had arguably the best two years to begin his career as a starter than any quarterback in NFL history.

But, if the Ravens quarterback follows up his incredible 2019 season with an even better 2020, Jackson certainly could have an argument to command a deal similar to the Chiefs' QB just agreed to.

Entering the NFL, much of the knack on Jackson had to do with his arm. Well, the Ravens quarterback led the NFL with 36 touchdown passes a season ago, while also breaking the single-season rushing yards record by a quarterback. Sure, Jackson may not have the arm talent that Mahomes has, but there are also things the Ravens QB can do that the Chiefs passer simply cannot.

For Jackson, next offseason is likely the time the quarterback will sign an extension, similarly to how Mahomes did on Monday. In recent years, we've seen Jared Goff and Carson Wentz also sign lucrative extensions following their third professional season.

But as the salary cap continues to change, and now with Mahomes' record deal, the reality is that Jackson's future contract numbers are a guessing game.

Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Dallas Cowboys signal-caller Dak Prescott are both due for extensions, and each could happen before Jackson signs a new deal. Those future deals will likely only increase what Jackson, who has an already more impressive resume than both of them, can command.

What Jackson does as an encore to his MVP season will be crucial in contract negotiations next summer. If Jackson regresses slightly but still turns in a solid season, a deal like Goff's (four years, $110 million) or Wentz's (four-years, $107 million) could be two baselines to follow. Yet, if he improves upon his great 2019 year, Mahomes has set the bar for what the Ravens QB can ask for.

Regardless, Jackson's future deal in Baltimore won't be cheap. But, as the quarterback has proven thus far in his career, it will be worth it. Remember, good quarterbacks win Super Bowls, not cheap ones.

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QB Patrick Mahomes agrees to 10-year extension with Chiefs

QB Patrick Mahomes agrees to 10-year extension with Chiefs

The first two years of Patrick Mahomes being the Kansas City Chiefs starting quarterback could not have gone any better.

Now, he's getting rewarded for it.

Mahomes has agreed to an incredible 10-year extension to remain with the franchise through the 2031 season, the team confirmed on Monday. ESPN's Adam Schefter was first to report the news.

The deal with worth $503 million with $140 million guaranteed, which is the richest deal in NFL history.

Mahomes' extension surpasses Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson's annual figure north of $35 million per season. According to Schefter, Mahomes will earn $450 million over that span with a $140 million injury guarantee. For comparison, that is more than MLB's stars Mike Trout, Bryce Harper, Gerrit Cole and Nolan Arenado have signed in recent years -- in a sport without a salary cap.

The quarterback enters his fourth NFL season in 2020, coming off his first Super Bowl title where he was named the game MVP. Mahomes threw for a league-best 50 touchdowns in 2018, where he earned MVP honors in his first year as a starter. 

Through three seasons, Mahomes is 24-7 as a starter with 9,412 passing yards, 76 touchdowns and just 18 interceptions. He's totaled 500 rushing yards and four touchdowns with his legs, too.

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