The Baltimore Ravens had a disappointing end of the season, with Lamar Jackson sidelined for the team's final four games. While Tyler Huntley filled in admirably in Jackson's stead, the team finished the season 8-9 and failed to reach the playoffs. That won't fly for the Ravens in 2022, and coach John Harbaugh will do everything in his power to ensure his team gets back into the postseason next year.
In order to achieve their goals, the Ravens will need to address the defense. The team has a plethora of players on expiring contracts, and almost certainly won't be bringing back all of them. The team doesn't have a ton of cap space to work with, but they aren't exactly strapped for cash either.
The Ravens also boast 10 picks in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, suggesting a large influx of young talent will be making its way to the roster. Those picks could also be used as trade capital in order to deal for some experienced players to help in their pursuit of a playoff push next season.
With all of that in mind, here are four bold predictions for the Baltimore Ravens in the 2022 NFL offseason.
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Ravens Offseason Predictions
4. Multiple veteran defenders walk in free agency
The Ravens' defense could look a lot different in 2022. Wink Martindale is already out as DC, and it could be an overhaul of players that occurs next. As many as 11 defenders could be headed for an exit this offseason, with the likes of Justin Houston, Anthony Averett, Calais Campbell, DeShon Elliott, Brandon Williams, Pernell McPhee, Anthony LeVine, Tony Jefferson, Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort, and Jimmy Smith all due to hit the open market. The Ravens certainly won't be bringing back all of those players, though there are some who could be impact players on the 2022 squad. Retaining or replacing these guys will be crucial for the team this offseason, and will be of the utmost importance for GM Eric DeCosta.
3. Ravens shoot down the possibility of signing Antonio Brown
As much as Antonio Brown may tease it on social media, it feels incredibly unlikely that the Ravens are willing to bring him on board, even if he's earned the Lamar Jackson stamp of approval. Brown has declared his desire to play alongside Jackson on the Ravens, and while there's no denying the talent the veteran wideout possesses, he's simply not worth the risk involved in bringing him to Baltimore. Brown has fizzled out of his last three landing spots, and has been a major distraction with each exit. That's the exact type of thing the Ravens should be avoiding this offseason, as they look to further the development of Rashod Bateman and Marquise Brown. Sorry, Lamar, but if you're trying to put the team first, leaving Brown on the couch is the way to do it.
2. Ravens go after top-tier defensive free agent
With so many vacancies potentially opening up on the Ravens' defense, it would be wise for the team to go out and make a splash on a game-changing defender. Their biggest needs are either at linebacker or in the secondary, so going after an experienced player like Anthony Barr or K.J. Wright could be a good route for the team to take. If they want to roll the dice in hopes that Patrick Queen takes a big leap in 2022, then they could use that money towards spending on the secondary, where a top safety such as Tyrann Mathieu could likely be acquired on the open market.
1. Ravens splash on cornerback with 1st round pick
The secondary will be an area of need for Baltimore whether or not they're able to bring in a safety like Mathieu. Fortunately, they are in prime territory to snag one of the best defensive players on the board with the No. 14 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. That pick could end up being spent to bring in one of LSU's Derek Stingley Jr., Washington's Trent McDuffie, Clemson's Andrew Booth Jr., or Cincinnati's Ahmad Gardner, who are considered to be among the top players in their class at the position. There's plenty of options for the Ravens to go cornerback with their first-round pick, and should they opt to go that route it would cover a significant area of need.