The Baltimore Ravens have more needs on offense this offseason given what the team didn’t do in 2020, and as always, the team’s defense figures to be rock solid.
Even though that’s the case, the Ravens can never be counted out of a splashy move to bolster the side of the ball that has been their calling card since winning it all in 2000. Just last year, the team made the move to nab Yannick Ngakoue at the trade deadline. The year before, they grabbed cornerback Marcus Peters in a major move. Even though the offense always seems to have its needs, the defense seems to be the beneficiary of the boldest moves. Once again this offseason, that could end up being the case.
ESPN’s Jamison Hensley recently took a look at projecting what the Ravens could look to do across their roster for moves. Most of the projections were standard, but the conversation took an interesting turn when the defensive line was mentioned.
“The biggest void on the team is at outside linebacker, where the top four on last year’s team are free agents. Judon isn’t getting re-signed, and Ngakoue is not expected to return after a limited role in the playoffs. The more likely scenario is re-signing Bowser and McPhee and drafting a pass-rusher either in the first or second round. Baltimore can also add a moderately priced veteran like Jadeveon Clowney, Justin Houston, Ryan Kerrigan or Melvin Ingram.”
Obviously, there are some decisions to be made with regards to the future of Matt Judon and Ngakoue, and if the pair does not come back, it could leave the team open to finding a bigger name player that could come in and fill the void in the best way possible. Some of the names listed would be intriguing veteran names, but there is likely one that stands out well above the rest.
Jadeveon Clowney Stats
The other names are certainly very interesting, but for these purposes, Clowney will be the one that interests most Ravens fans. The former top pick in the 2014 NFL Draft has bounced around the last few seasons after starting his career solidly in Houston. Clowney spent the 2019-20 season in Seattle, and then signed a short-term deal with the Tennessee Titans for 2020-21. Last year, his season was cut short by a knee injury. Clowney’s production is solid for the most part, given his 32 sacks, 255 tackles, 9 forced fumbles, 3 touchdowns and 8 fumble recoveries.
If he was healthy, Clowney would be one of the top options on the market. Scoring him on a “prove-it” type deal would give the Ravens a chance to score greatly in 2021.
Ravens Defense Could See Significant Defensive Changes
The Ravens had a solid season under Don ‘Wink’ Martindale on defense, finishing as a top 10 unit and also finishing with a solid 39 sacks on the year. That was due in great part to the work of several free agents, including Matt Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser and Pernell McPhee. Odds are, however, that all of those players will not come back, especially with Baltimore’s limited funds. It’s more than possible the defense is going to take the hit in a major way given the number of players that could leave, so prioritizing who to bring back will be key, as will be drafting the right pieces this coming season.
Adding a player like Clowney could be a key way to upgrade the defense in a cheaper way.