With the NFL offseason pretty much settled, it is time to review how every team did. Instead of handing out grades for every team, it is better to do a fair assessment for how every team did this offseason. Let’s start in the AFC, specifically the AFC North.
Key Additions/Re-signings (FA/Draft): WR Odell Beckham Jr (previous team: DNP due to recovery from ACL injury, WR Zay Flowers (1st round pick from Boston College), CB Rock Ya-Sin (Previous team: Las Vegas Raiders), QB Lamar Jackson (resigned 5 year contract worth $260 million, $185 million guaranteed), LB Trenton Simpson (3rd round pick from Clemson), OC Todd Monken
Key Losses: S Chuck Clark (traded to NY Jets), DE Calais Campbell (signed with ATL Falcons), G Ben Powers (signed with DEN Broncos)
For as well run as the Baltimore Ravens organization was for the past decade, the organization displayed levels of dysfunction this offseason. Allow me to explain. Let’s start with quarterback Lamar Jackson and his contract situation. Yes, Baltimore was able to re-sign Jackson to a long term deal which makes him the highest paid player in the entire league.
However, the way Baltimore handled the situation before reaching a deal seemed out of character for the Ravens. It was clear Baltimore tried to blame a specific organization for why they couldn’t reach a deal but that is another topic for another day. Baltimore’s offseason was noisy due to the contract situation with Jackson but they were able to get a deal done.
Meanwhile, the rest of the moves Baltimore made were fine but some were questionable. Signing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr seemed like a move to appease Jackson after they alienated him with the contract situation. Considering Odell’s injury history and his age, the contract he received was a bit of an overpay but Baltimore had no other options. When healthy, Beckham can be productive as demonstrated when he went to the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 after being released by the Cleveland Browns.
Drafting wide receiver Zay Flowers from Boston College was a great pickup. Flowers gives Baltimore that much needed deep threat at the wide receiver spot and when healthy Rashod Bateman has the potential to be the main target in Baltimore’s offense. The wide receiver trio of Beckham Jr, Bateman and Flowers is the best set of weapons Jackson has had during his tenure in Baltimore. Tight end Mark Andrews is a top five tight end and the rushing duo of JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards will be formidable.
A move that was necessary for Baltimore was firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman and replacing him with Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken. Roman was well known for his ability to scheme up a productive running attack. The problem Roman ran into is his inability to scheme up a competent passing attack. The weapons didn’t help but Roman’s lack of creativity in the passing game left Baltimore’s offense stagnant and it failed to evolve.
Monken is a massive upgrade over Roman due to his ability to adapt and be creative. He has experience in the NFL as an offensive coordinator with his time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Cleveland Browns. Granted, Monken didn’t have nearly the talent at the quarterback position at his two stops but he now has a much more talented quarterback in Lamar Jackson.
Baltimore is a playoff team and has the potential to win the AFC North. People tend to forget that the Ravens led the division at one point last season before injuries derailed the team. There are some concerns about Baltimore. Defensively, their pass rush needs a little more juice after losing Calais Campbell in free agency but overall it is a top 10 unit in the league. Overall, despite the dysfunction of the Lamar Jackson contract situation Baltimore’s offseason was fine. If there is a team that I am confident in winning the AFC North, it’s the Baltimore Ravens.