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Baltimore Ravens 2024 NFL offseason primer: Free agents galore for AFC heavyweight

Baltimore Ravens' 2023 season: 13-4, won AFC North, lost AFC championship game

Overview: Baltimore was the best team in football during the regular season by both record and most advanced metrics (No. 1 overall in DVOA). It earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs behind a dominant defense and a highly efficient offense, and advanced to its first AFC championship in the Lamar Jackson era, which saw him win his second MVP award. But things came to abrupt end when the Ravens were stunned at home in a loss to the eventual champion Kansas City Chiefs.

After falling short of its Super Bowl goal, Baltimore faces an offseason of change, with a litany of free agents to tend to. The Ravens already lost defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and defensive line coach Anthony Weaver to the coaching carousel, so now it’s time to address the personnel and try to upgrade the roster while retaining key talent. Having Jackson under center erases a lot of problems, but the Ravens are undergoing an organizational facelift this offseason.

(Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylor Wilhelm/Yahoo Sports)

Key free agents

DL Justin Madubuike (re-signed)
LB Patrick Queen
EDGE Jadeveon Clowney
WR Odell Beckham Jr.
S Geno Stone
RB JK Dobbins
OG Kevin Zeitler

Who's in/out? Madubuike is sticking with the Ravens on a new four-year, $98 million deal. It makes sense because he's developed into one of the best interior defensive linemen in the NFL and he was a big reason why the Ravens had such a dominant defense. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Madubuike ranked eighth in pressure rate (13.1%) among all defensive tackles with at least 250 pass rush snaps on the season. The presence of Roquan Smith may have made the Ravens comfortable at linebacker enough to let Queen walk, which he did, reportedly taking a three-year, $41 million deal with the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Stone is also out the door in Baltimore, leaving for the Cincinnati Bengals, another AFC North rival, according to an NFL Network report. Beckham said goodbye to Baltimore on social media, signaling that he's off to a new team for the 2024 season.

Will the Ravens be able to re-sign defensive tackle Justin Madubuike after he anchored a stellar defensive line this past season? (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Ravens already answered one major offseason question by re-signing star defensive tackle Justin Madubuike before he could hit free agency. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Key free-agent needs

Offensive line
EDGE
Wide receiver

Why the holes? The Ravens have a long-term piece at center in Tyler Linderbaum, but not much else outside of him. With Kevin Zeitler being a free agent and Ronnie Stanley a potential cut candidate, the Ravens will need to rebuild this group in a hurry. They could also stand to add players at wide receiver to help out Zay Flowers. They updated their backfield with the reported addition of Derrick Henry. (RB Gus Edwards is departing for the Los Angeles Chargers). They need to find depth at edge rusher as well with Kyle Van Noy and Clowney slated to hit the open market.

Do they have the money?: It's a work in progress. The Ravens are projected to be $2.6 million over the salary cap, according to spotrac.com, and more moves could be coming whether it’s restructuring, trades or extensions.

Potential notable cuts:

OT Ronnie Stanley
EDGE Tyus Bowser
OT Morgan Moses (traded)

Why they might be gone: Stanley’s play has fallen off due to injuries and the Ravens would immediately become cap-compliant by releasing him (a post-June 1 cut would free up $8.3 million in cap space). However, the Ravens on Wednesday reportedly will restructure his deal, keeping him a Raven. Bowser was one of the few cuts the Ravens made without incurring big dead cap penalties. The Ravens dealt Moses to the New York Jets in a deal that included draft picks.

2023 NFLPA report card

(Yahoo Sports)
(Yahoo Sports)

Draft picks

1st round: No. 30
2nd round: No. 62
3rd round: No. 93
4th round: No. 112 (from Jets)
4th round: No. 129
5th round: No. 164
6th round (from Jets)
7th round: No. 228 (from Jets)
7th round: No. 250

Good draft fit

Duke OL Graham Barton

Why him? Baltimore might need a bunch of spots filled, so a versatile, high-floor offensive lineman to get that group moving in the right direction could be a necessity.

What can move the fantasy football needle this offseason?

This year’s free-agent class at running back is loaded with talent, and likely to get even deeper via cap casualties. Let’s add Derrick Henry (or another brand-name back) to a rushing offense that was already the league’s most productive in 2023. It should almost go without saying that Baltimore also needs to enhance its receiving room, like adding a serious downfield threat to complement Zay Flowers and the tight ends. Lamar Jackson is just one additional playmaker away from producing a 4,000/1,000 season in terms of passing and rushing totals. — Andy Behrens