Eric DeCosta officially took over the General Manager role of the Baltimore Ravens on January 11, 2019.
DeCosta, 47, took over for former general manager Ozzie Newsome after consistently turning down offers from other teams. DeCosta spurned the Indianaplois Colts, Chicago Bears, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, and most notably the Green Bay Packers in patiently waiting for his opportunity to come in Baltimore.
Many things have changed since DeCosta took over on January 11. In case you have missed it here are the highlights:
- January 11, 2019 – During DeCosta’s first day on the job, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg is relieved of his duties and run game coordinator Greg Roman is promoted.
- January 24, 2019 – Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh receives a four-year contract extension, keeping him signed through the year 2022 .
- February 13, 2019 – The Ravens have an agreement in principle to trade Joe Flacco to the Denver Broncos for a fourth-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. When this trade becomes official on March 13, the Ravens will save $10.5 million in 2019 salary cap space according to Brian McFarland.
- February 21, 2019 – The Ravens and nickel cornerback Tavon Young agree on a contract extension that keeps him a Raven until 2022. His salary for the 2019 season goes up to $3.6 million.
- February 25, 2019 – The Ravens decide to cut Michael Crabtree. The move saves the Ravens $4.667 million in 2019 salary cap space.
- March 1, 2019 – The Ravens cut running back Alex Collins after he is arrested for possession of a handgun in a vehicle, possession of more than 10 grams of marijuana, and intent to distribute. The arrest stemmed from a car crash that Friday morning.
- March 4, 2019 – It is announced that the Ravens will not be applying the franchise tag to inside linebacker C.J. Mosley. This announcement means that Mosley will hit free agency on March 13 if the sides are unable to come to terms on a contract.
- March 5, 2019 – The Ravens announce that they have decided to cut veteran safety and team leader Eric Weddle. This move will save the Ravens $7.5 million in 2019 salary cap space. It is possible Weddle is back at a discount as well.
That’s a hell of a first 54 days on the job!
So where does that leave the Ravens moving forward? First thing to address is that according to McFarland, the Ravens will hit the new league year on March 13 with $29.5M in salary cap space barring any additional releases/restructures/re-signings.
There are certainly quite a few things going around the rumor mill in regards to additional transactions prior to the beginning of the new league year. Most of these discussions for the Ravens are in regards to Jimmy Smith and the aforementioned Mosley.
Smith is the most likely situation to produce some fireworks at this point. Cutting Smith would free up $9.5 million in cap space, which could be too good for the Ravens to pass up.
Smith is coming off of a decent year for the Ravens but he has been surpassed by Marlon Humphrey as the team’s top corner. It is possible that Smith could take a pay cut for the 2019 season and make up his money by hitting incentives. It is also possible that the Ravens could outright cut the Colorado product or look to forge a trade.
Smith will likely be able to get a multi-year deal if he hits the free agent market and an extension in Baltimore is unlikely.
Mosley is someone that the Ravens have continuously stated that they would like to bring back at all costs. Mosley not being given the franchise tag changes nothing. The announcement of that decision sent shockwaves through Ravens nation when the move was to be expected. They were never going to have Mosley in Baltimore on a $15.44 million cap hit for 2019.
Everyone has an opinion on whether or not Mosley should be back. I’d expect the Ravens to give Mosley their numbers for a possible new contract and allow him to test the free agent waters. He is a great run-stuffing linebacker but his pass coverage is an absolute liability.
If the Ravens are able to make it work for the money, I’d expect Mosley back. If he comes back to them saying the Raiders are offering him anything north of $12 million a year, I think he is as good as gone.
There are other situations to monitor for the Ravens as we move forward but the most important thing to keep in mind is that whatever occurs over the next few weeks is not final. The Ravens have already lost Crabtree, Weddle (seemingly), and Collins this offseason. It is also unlikely that Za’Darius Smith is back in the purple and black. Terrell Suggs, J. Smith, Mosley, and Brent Urban are also players that could find new homes this offseason.
While losing all of those players in one offseason would certainly be concerning, my message to the Ravens nation is to R-E-L-A-X. We don’t know that Mosley, Suggs, J. Smith, Z. Smith, and Urban will all be gone yet. And if they are, do you really think that the Ravens haven’t thought about potential replacements for these players? Some of the replacements likely lie in-house.
Sure it would give DeCosta a ton of work to do if everyone were to walk. Couple that potential defensive overhaul with a second-year quarterback looking to improve his passing game and it can be a precarious thought.
But it is March. We are not even into the new league year yet and there is a sense of panic setting in among the Ravens nation.
The Ravens project to have more salary cap space available this offseason than in any of the previous few years. DeCosta will be doing all that he can to fill any voids left by free agency departures.
Landon Collins, Tryann Mathieu, Adrian Amos, Earl Thomas, and Ha-Ha Clinton Dix are among many potential replacements and upgrades at safety. Maybe the Ravens use some of their cap space there. If Mosley walks they could look to add Preston Brown, Kwon Alexander, or Mark Barron.
They could also look to the draft to fill the voids. With the Flacco trade and having received a third-round compensatory pick for the loss of Ryan Jensen, the Ravens have eight picks:
- Round 1, No. 22 overall
- Round 3, No. 85
- Round 3, No. 102 (comp pick)
- Round 4, No. 113 (from Denver)
- Round 4, No. 123
- Round 5, No. 160
- Round 6, No. 191 (from Tennessee for Kamalei Correa)
- Round 6, No. 193
While it isn’t ideal to not have a second-round pick, there are certainly ways for the Ravens to get into that round if they choose to. The Ravens are looking for another strong draft after last year’s class produced Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews, and Orlando Brown Jr. Surely they could address the needs in this realm as well.
The way that the Ravens look right now is not the way they will look heading into the draft, training camp, preseason, and regular season. There’s a long way to go before we know what the 2019 Ravens finished product will look like. And who knows, maybe Jackson is beast and solidifies the offensive side of the ball.
DeCosta waited 23 years for this moment. This is his dream job. He turned down numerous offers over the years to wait for this exact opportunity. He showed patience in waiting for this opportunity to present itself.
The Ravens Nation owes him that same patience.
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