Ravens Rumors

Draft Rumors: Ravens, Seahawks, 49ers, Pats

Let’s dive into some last-minute draft rumors as we anticipate the start of the first round…

  • Should the Ravens go on the clock and Mike McGlinchey is off the board, it looks like they will strongly consider UCLA’s Kolton Miller. Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle tweets the Ravens are focused on Miller as a McGlinchey contingency plan at No. 16. These two are viewed by many as the top tackles in this year’s draft. Although Baltimore needs a right tackle after cutting Austin Howard, this serves as one of the possible Lamar Jackson destinations. Assuming the top four QB prospects are gone by this point in the draft, it could open up the trade market for the picks in the latter teens with the 2016 Heisman winner still available.
  • Albert Breer of SI.com writes that there are several teams interested in moving down, including the 49ers (No. 9), Seahawks (No. 18), Lions (No. 20), Titans (No. 25), and Eagles (No. 32). Seattle would have particular interest in trading their pick if safety Derwin James or any of the top pass-rushers are off the board. Meanwhile, Breer notes that San Francisco could benefit if a quarterback-needy team wants to trade up.
  • Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets that he keeps hearing Miami defensive lineman Chad Thomas being connected to the Patriots. Thomas didn’t earn a spot on NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah’s top-50 list, and he’s ultimately projected to be a third- or fourth-round pick. The senior was plenty productive in 2017, compiling 41 total tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks.

Draft Notes: Ravens, Seahawks, Saints, Browns

Let’s take a look at some assorted notes as we get ready for the start of the draft…

  • There are a number of teams currently picking in the twenties that would be interested in moving up to the teens, reports Jason La Canfora (via Twitter). Interestingly, those teams may have some suitors, as the reporter notes that the Ravens and Seahawks are among the teams interested in trading back.
  • Saints assistant general manager Jeff Ireland told Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune that running back Saquon Barkley is the top player on their draft board (Twitter link). “He’s rare,” Ireland gushed. “He’s unique.” Of course, barring some crazy development, the Saints are unlikely to have an opportunity to select Barkley, as they’re only armed with one pick in the first two rounds. Plus, the team is already rostering several talented running backs, including Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram.
  • There could end up being a flurry of trades if the Browns select Baker Mayfield with the first-overall pick, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter video). All of the potential scenarios have seemingly stalled trade talks, although Rapoport notes that the Browns (No. 4), Broncos (No. 5), and Colts (No. 6) are among the teams who’d consider moving down. The Bills could be among the teams looking to trade into the top-six range, and the Broncos could ultimately choose to keep their pick if someone like Josh Allen falls into their lap.
  • Rapoport also notes (via Twitter) that several prospects are expected to be selected earlier than initially thought: Maryland wideout D.J. Moore, UTSA defensive end Marcus Davenport, and Louisville Jaire Alexander. Davenport and Alexander both landed in the top-20 of Daniel Jeremiah’s rankings, while Moore was listed 37th.

Steelers Listening To Martavis Bryant Offers

The Steelers may not be actively shopping Martavis Bryant, but they’re listening to offers on the contract-year wide receiver, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports.

Bryant did not appear to be content with his situation last season, and trade buzz followed the deep threat for weeks leading up to the 2017 deadline. But Pittsburgh kept him in the fold, and as of February, the franchise wasn’t planning on trading him despite fielding calls on him.

Part of the holdup regarding a Bryant trade is the Steelers’ timeline and the teams that might impede them from reaching their goal. The Patriots and Ravens are teams that could need a receiver like Bryant, but Graziano notes the Steelers do not want to ship a talented player to rival franchises. They believe Bryant can help them in 2018, even if he may now be the fourth option in their offense, and will need a good offer to part with him.

Kevin Colbert discussed Bryant with other teams at the Combine, but nothing emerged from those reported discussions. So as of now, the two-time defending AFC North champions are set at wide receiver as they attempt to make good on their Super Bowl window — one largely dependent on the skill-position crew they’ve assembled. But with Pittsburgh needing more help on the defensive side of the ball, it would be understandable if the team listened on Bryant if it meant draft compensation to address bigger issues.

 

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Browns, Colts Lead League In Cap Space

The Browns and Colts have the most cap room of any team in the NFL heading into draft, as Field Yates of ESPN.com (on Twitter) notes. Here’s the official rundown of every team’s cap space for 2018 on the eve of draft weekend:

  1. Browns – $69.5MM
  2. Colts – $59.8MM
  3. 49ers – $43.8MM
  4. Titans – $35.8MM
  5. Texans -$35.6MM
  6. Bears – $24.1MM
  7. Jets – $21.9MM
  8. Bills – $19.4MM
  9. Jaguars – $18.6MM
  10. Cardinals – $18.1MM
  11. Redskins -$17.1MM
  12. Bengals – $16.8MM
  13. Packers – $16.2MM
  14. Vikings – $15.5MM
  15. Broncos – $14.6MM
  16. Patriots – $13.8MM
  17. Buccaneers – $12.3MM
  18. Cowboys -$11.9MM
  19. Chargers – $11.4MM
  20. Lions – $9.4MM
  21. Giants -$9.4MM
  22. Ravens – $8.8MM
  23. Seahawks – $7.6MM
  24. Chiefs – $6.7MM
  25. Saints – $5.7MM
  26. Panthers – $5.2MM
  27. Dolphins – $2.9MM
  28. Eagles – $2.2MM
  29. Steelers – $2MM
  30. Raiders – $1.8MM
  31. Falcons – $1.3MM
  32. Rams – $264K

Dez Bryant Rejects Offer From Ravens

Former Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant turned down a multi-year offer from the Ravens, according to veteran NFL reporter Ed Werder (on Twitter). Bryant is seeking a significant one-year deal that will allow him to secure a lucrative long-term contract as an unrestricted free agent next year. 

It’s not clear if the Ravens are still pursuing Bryant, but it would be surprising if their offer was still on the table after the signing of restricted free agent Willie Snead was finalized earlier this week. Baltimore now boasts a wide receiver group that is headlined by three newcomers in Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Snead and as well as Chris Moore and former first-round pick Breshad Perriman, so it’s hard to see how there could be enough targets for everyone to share.

The Ravens wanted to lock Bryant down for multiple seasons, but other Bryant suitors will likely be willing to do a one-year deal. Bryant was once amongst the league’s very best wide receivers, but there are tons of question marks about his ability after he posted just 838 yards off of 69 catches in 2017. A one-year deal would also help to ensure that Bryant is exceptionally motivated as he chases another high-paying contract.

Earlier this month, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter identified the Cardinals, Bills, and Packers as potential fits, along with the Ravens. So far, the Ravens have been the only team concretely connected to Bryant. Ideally, Bryant says that he would like to sign with an NFC East team in order to exact revenge on Dallas twice in 2018. On paper, the Giants would make the most sense of any team in the division, but they have yet to express interest in him, even after releasing Brandon Marshall. Meanwhile, we’ve heard nothing connecting the Eagles to the wide receiver and the Redskins do not have him on their radar.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Could Be Targeting Alabama DT Da'Ron Payne

  • Pauline hears that the Ravens could be targeting Alabama defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne with the No. 16 overall pick in the draft, though he has Baltimore selecting Payne’s teammate, wide receiver Calvin Ridley, in his latest mock draft. Paulino also notes that he doesn’t believe the team feels an urgent need to take a tight end and will simply play the board. They also may be still interested in picking up free-agent wide receiver Eric Decker.

Willie Snead To Join Ravens

Willie Snead is officially a member of the Ravens. The Saints informed the wide receiver on Monday morning that they will not be matching his offer sheet (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). 

The Saints used the low level tender on Snead this offseason, which tagged him with only a one-year, $1.907MM placeholder. The move came as something of a surprise, but the Saints did not want to pay him upwards of $2.9MM via the second round tender after a forgettable 2017.

Right at the deadline for restricted free agents, the Ravens inked Snead to a two-year, $7MM offer sheet with another $3.4MM in incentives. After the Saints signed an RFA wide receiver of their own in Cameron Meredith, there was no real scenario in which they would have matched.

The Ravens upgraded their wide receiver stable by adding Michael Crabtree and John Brown in March. They were expected to target a WR3 type in the draft this weekend, but the addition of Snead will allow them to prioritize other areas of need.

Snead virtually disappeared from the Saints’ offense last year, but he averaged 70 catches for 940 yards and four touchdowns between 2015 and 2016. He won’t turn 26 until October, so the Ravens see serious potential in the former UDFA.

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Lewis Fully Healthy After Shoulder Injury

  • The torn labrum Ravens offensive lineman Alex Lewis suffered last summer has completely healed, Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun notes. Lewis has been working with former Ravens assistant offensive line coach Todd Washington several times per week since March, per Preston. The Ravens parted ways with Washington after the 2016 season, which was Lewis’ rookie campaign. Lewis’ return gives the Ravens options, with Preston writing the 2016 fourth-round pick could step in at center for Ryan Jensen or guard and shift James Hurst to right tackle.
  • Willie Snead won’t satisfy the Ravens‘ need for a deep threat, Preston writes. Despite Baltimore having signed ex-Cardinals long-range target John Brown, Preston still notes the team remains in the market for a more consistent player to fill that role. Brown signed a one-year deal, and 2015 first-rounder Breshad Perriman has not worked out.

Saints Not Planning To Match Ravens’ Willie Snead Offer Sheet

After four years in New Orleans, Willie Snead looks like he will head north. The Saints are not planning to match the Ravens’ offer sheet, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link), which will send the RFA wide receiver to Baltimore.

The Ravens only submitted this two-year offer sheet on Friday, but as of Saturday, it doesn’t look like the Saints are planning to retain Snead. This could have been expected after the Saints signed Cameron Meredith to a two-year, $9.6MM RFA offer sheet and agreed to bring back Brandon Coleman. This seemingly locks in a 2018 top four of Michael Thomas/Ted Ginn/Meredith/Coleman and left Snead without a surefire role.

He figures to have one with the Ravens, who continue to overhaul their receiving corps. The 25-year-old pass-catcher joins Michael Crabtree and John Brown as new Raven receivers, and this could well affect the franchise’s potential pursuit of Dez Bryant. Thus far, they’ve been the only team to express interest in the former Cowboys Pro Bowler.

Although, this two-year, $7MM deal, with some incentives, would have been a major discount based on Snead’s 2015 and ’16 seasons. But after a vast production dip in 2017 (eight receptions, 92 yards), Snead will earn a raise nonetheless. This through-2019 contract could double as an audition for Snead, who was negotiating with the Saints for a new deal last offseason. But he’ll be departing the league’s most consistent passing attack for one that hasn’t enjoyed as much success in recent years, so it will be interesting to see how Baltimore pieces together its new-look aerial group.

The former UDFA’s best work came during his age-23 and age-24 seasons, when he totaled 141 receptions for 1,895 yards and seven touchdowns between them. The Ravens are obviously hoping he can move closer to that form instead of the one that relegated him to a surprising afterthought in 2017.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.