Cap room, reputation give Ravens free agent ammo

Cap room, reputation give Ravens free agent ammo
March 6, 2014, 12:00 pm
(Associated Press)

The Ravens have at least two things going for them as they approach free agency next week – cap room, and a stable organization. Sitting around $24.9 million under the cap gives the Ravens flexibility. Meanwhile, the strong reputation the Ravens have built with players around the league gives them credibility when they start pursuing free agents. The Ravens are viewed as player-friendly organization, which is one reason why tight end Dennis Pitta re-signed.

“I knew I wanted to be here,” Pitta said.

Despite last year’s disappointing season, the Ravens are just one year removed from winning a Super Bowl. They have a solid front office led by general manager Ozzie Newsome, a winning coach in John Harbaugh, and a well-respected owner in Steve Bisciotti.

The Ravens will need those selling points, because they have plenty of holes to fill coming off an 8-8 season. Don’t be surprised to see the Ravens take a more aggressive approach in free agency, especially if they do not re-sign left tackle Eugene Monroe before he hits the free agent market. If the Ravens lose Monroe, they might be forced to pursue a free agent left tackle like Branden Albert or Jared Veldheer.

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Playmakers in the passing game are also needed. Even if they decide that Eric Decker is too pricey, other free agent wide receiver options at this point include Julian Edelman, Hakeem Nicks, Emmanuel Sanders, and Golden Tate. The Ravens have to think about those players, considering how inconsistent their passing game was last season.

Don’t look for the Ravens to go wild in free agency, because this year’s draft is deep, and Newsome has a solid history of working the draft board. However, the Ravens have more ammunition than usual heading into free agency. It makes sense for them to use it.

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