Matt Skura Jersey

This Baltimore Ravens draft theory goes as follows. In 2020 Matt Judon and Ronnie Stanley are set to become free agents. Judon is the better player of the Ravens free agents to be but left tackle is a fundamental part of building any roster.

Next year is supposed to be a big year for free agency with big name free agents potentially there for the taking. The Ravens have a quarterback on a rookie contract so they have a chance to build the roster. In 2020 they will have more cap space than they have had in a very long time. If the purple and black were able to draft a left tackle in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft.
The offensive line is a position of need no matter how you look at it. The Ravens needs happen to be on the interior of the offensive line. They could surely use an upgrade for Matt Skura at the center position. Left guard isn’t the Ravens strong suit and the lingering questions about Marshal Yanda have to be on the Ravens minds. Offensive tackle still makes sense, especially if it is a versatile one.

Let’s imagine three scenarios. The first scenario sees Jawaan Taylor fall to the 22nd pick. Taylor is the left tackle from Florida and he happens to be the 13th best player on my board at the moment. It would be a surprise, but it wouldn’t be all that shocking in a defensive heavy draft.

The next scenario is that the NFL gets too caught up in the measurables of Jonah Williams, and teams pass him up due to overthinking it. Williams, the proven tackle from Alabama, is an unbelievably pro ready prospect and the 10th player on my personal big board. If he’s thought of as a guard his stock could be lower than that. I see him as a left tackle with great footwork and smooth athleticism.

The final scenario is Cody Ford, who is a right tackle from Oklahoma. Ford is a prospect that is considered to be a guard by most analysts. He’s certainly not a left tackle, but he has the ability to play guard and right tackle. In this scenario the Ravens may feel inclined to move Orlando Brown Jr. to the left tackle spot in 2020, should they fall out of the running for Stanley. If the plan is to keep Brown Jr. on the right side, Ford would be a starting guard for the Ravens for a long time and the Stanley part of this conversation becomes a moot point.

Ty Montgomery Jersey

Ty Montgomery cost the Green Bay Packers a chance at a comeback against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday when he fumbled the ball on a late-game kickoff return, but he dismisses the notion he intentionally defied orders to take a knee in the end zone.

Speaking to reporters a day after the Packers’ 29-27 loss, Montgomery said he was told what he’s always told before kickoffs — “if it’s in the end zone, keep it in the end zone” — but added he believed he could make a play since it was near the goal line.

“I had a returnable ball,” Montgomery said, via Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “So I made a split-second decision on, I don’t know if this is going to land on the goal line. So I’m not going to take a knee on the goal line, at the half-yard line and take a chance at putting the game in the ref’s hands.

“Unfortunately, I ended up fumbling the football,” Montgomery continued. “I don’t think we’d be having this conversation if I didn’t fumble the football because we know how good our two-minute offense is. But I’ve never been a guy to completely disobey what I’m being told. I think you can ask a lot of guys in our locker room. That’s not what I do. That’s not the type of man I am. That’s not the kind of person I am.”

Montgomery’s defense of his decision to return the kickoff comes after NFL Network’s Michael Silver reported that more than half a dozen Packers players and coaches noticed Montgomery throwing a tantrum on the sideline after being removed from the game during Green Bay’s previous offensive series. At least one player believed Montgomery’s decision to defy orders was sparked by being pulled in favor of Aaron Jones.

“They took him out (the previous drive) for a play and he slammed his helmet and threw a fit,” one Packers player told Silver. “Then (before the kickoff) they told him to take a knee, and he ran it out anyway. You know what that was? That was him saying, ‘I’m gonna do me.’ It’s a f—— joke.”

Montgomery told reporters he was frustrated by the team’s decision to pull him from the game but said it had nothing to do with returning the kickoff.

“Absolutely not, and that’s the point that I was trying to make,” he said. ” … I’m very disappointed in the fact that was said and they tried to make correlations that don’t exist.”

Montgomery also expressed frustration over the anonymous comments made about him after the game.

“We talk about being brothers,” he said. “We talk about being family and keeping things in-house, in-house, this, that and the other. That’s not what happened. I don’t know. Maybe that’s what they do in their family. That’s not what I do in mine. No one ever said anything to me. No one ever came to me. So I’m thoroughly disappointed in the speculation and just the backlash I have to deal with now. Because now, we’re talking about my character. We’re not even talking about the fumble anymore, we’re talking about my character. We’re talking about the reasons why I did what I did, and I’m not OK with that.”

Mark Ingram Jersey

The New Orleans Saints tried to work a deal with free agent running back Mark Ingram, but the two sides weren’t able to reach an agreement. Ingram’s agents took too long to respond to the Saints, who had to move quickly to sign Latavius Murray. If New Orleans waited to pursue Murray, they risked losing both him and Ingram.

In the end, fear of that outcome forced their hand; Murray signed with New Orleans, Ingram joined the Baltimore Ravens, and Saints head coach Sean Payton wants it known that he wishes things had gone differently.

“It happened pretty quickly, “Payton began, addressing members of the media at the coaches’ breakfast during league meetings in Phoenix, “Look, I’m excited for Mark’s opportunity. He’s been a tremendous player for us and leader for us. It was frustrating because I felt there was little dialogue.”

Payton elaborated on his complaint with the logistics of these negotiations: “Usually I’m able to visit with the player and I wasn’t able to. So the ins and outs specifically and how that unfolded is still to me a little bit cloudy. I tried texted (Ingram), tried calling him, direct message. He texted me back and then the next day we weren’t able to speak.”

So basically, Payton wasn’t able to make his personal sales pitch to Ingram, and that’s continued to bother him. Still, he’s satisfied with the alternative they picked up in Murray: “I’m excited about Latavius joining our team. We’ve had coaches who were on a team with him. We’ll have a clear vision for him.”

Earl Thomas Jersey

After losing multiple defenders this offseason, the Baltimore Ravens made a splash signing.

Safety Earl Thomas signed a four-year, $55 million contract with the Ravens on Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported, per a source informed of the deal. ESPN first reported the pact.

The contract includes $32 million guaranteed and averages $14.33 million over the first three years, per Rapoport.

Thomas sat as the highest player left on’s Top 101 free agents list heading into the new league year, which opens at 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
Turning 30 in May, Thomas was looking for a big payday on the open market, and the Ravens backed up the truck. The $13.75 million per year average over the course of the deal for Thomas comes in just behind the contracts agreed to by Landon Collins (Washington Redskins) and Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City Chiefs) this week, both of whom will sign deals worth $14 million per season. The trio all outdistanced Eric Berry’s deal of $13 million per season, which had sat atop the safety market.

Despite playing just four games in 2018 before suffering a broken leg, Thomas earned his new big salary.

The NFL’s premier centerfielder, Thomas is a complete game-changer on the back end of a defense, with ball-hawking skills and a penchant for big plays. Since being drafted by the Seahawks in the first round of the 2010 draft, Thomas has compiled 664 tackles, 28 interceptions, 68 passes defended and countless highlight-reel plays.

Thomas is the only player in the NFL with 25-plus INTs and 10-plus forced fumbles since 2010, per NFL Research.

In the veteran, the Ravens are getting a playmaker who can close the deep middle. According to Pro Football Focus, Thomas has played the fourth-most coverage snaps in the middle of the field in a closed coverage scheme (1,323) since 2015, and has excelled in the deep middle safety role, allowing just a 58.5 completion percentage, third best in the NFL in that span.

The addition of Thomas is huge for a Ravens team that anticipated a talent drainage ahead of the new league year. Baltimore released veteran safety Eric Weddle and watched C.J. Mosley, Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith agree to sign elsewhere. Replacing Weddle with Thomas provides the Ravens with a veteran presence on the back end with upgraded range.

In addition to adding Thomas, the Ravens also signed running back Mark Ingram to a three-year, $15 million deal, Rapoport reported. After days of watching players agree elsewhere, the Ravens are making their big moves in an effort to fend off the hard-charging Cleveland Browns in the AFC North.

Signing Thomas continues the trend of the Ravens boasting all-time great safeties. From Ed Reed to Eric Weddle now to Earl Thomas, Baltimore fans have had decades of watching some of the best safeties ever patrol the field.

With the Ravens set to travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks at some point in the 2019 campaign, fire up the #RevengeGame takes after Thomas was last seen in Seattle gesturing towards his former team’s sideline after breaking his leg.

Maxx Williams Jersey

The seemingly slow buildup to the beginning of the NFL free agency period is behind us, as now we’re on a fast track to not only the legal tampering window but also for the official start to the new league year in under one week.

And with free agency comes the responsibility for the Buffalo Bills to add substantially to a roster that was weakened by a low amount of cap space last year. Done by design in 2018, now the shackles are off, and the Bills are free to spend their over $70 million in cap space as they choose

Especially with how Brandon Beane denied the notion that being “judicious” is the same as being prohibitive to signing the bigger fish in free agency, all options are still firmly on the table for the Bills. All this week, 7ABC will be going through five names that make sense for the Bills in free agency.

To begin the week, we discussed two offensive players in center Matt Paradis (with a mention of Mitch Morse, too) and wide receiver Devin Funchess. We also brought up linebacker Anthony Barr in more of a unique way than what his role would typically dictate.

However, the next stop is for a position that has both a crying need for more players and more talent. After all, only one tight end remains on the roster just under one week before the start of free agency.

It’s a position that the Bills desperately want more out of in 2019 and beyond which is why they’ve chosen to hit the restart button on all but Jason Croom. It gives them a blank slate to work with, needing a couple of different types of tight ends to maximize the role within Brian Daboll’s offense.

That leads me to Baltimore’s Maxx Williams, who would be a perfect fit for many different reasons.

Ronnie Stanley Jersey

The Baltimore Ravens have a lot of tough decisions to make this offseason. While pending free agents like C.J. Mosley have garnered the most attention from the media, one key piece of the offseason still awaits Baltimore: left tackle Ronnie Stanley’s fifth-year option for 2020.

The Ravens don’t have to make the decision until the deadline in early May, but that doesn’t stop it from being a major question right now. At the NFL scouting combine on Wednesday, general manager Eric DeCosta was asked about Stanley’s status. Though he didn’t talk much about Stanley’s fifth-year option, it’s something Baltimore should exercise.
Last offseason, fifth-year options cost teams $12.525 million for offensive linemen, which means we’ll likely see a number around $13 million for Stanley’s 2020 option. If the Ravens do pick up Stanley’s option, he’d have no worse than the seventh-highest average cap hit among left tackles, according to Over The Cap. But considering the value of left tackles in today’s game and where the salary cap will likely be by the 2020 offseason, it’s a relative bargain.

Young, talented left tackles don’t often hit the free agent market. And for good reason. In the few instances when they do, they tend to make more, like in the case of Nate Solder signing a four-year deal with the New York Giants for $62 million at age 30 last offseason. That’s precisely why the Ravens don’t really have much of a choice here.
As of right now, 16 other left tackles are set to hit free agency in 2020 as unrestricted free agents. Of that group, only eight will be under 29 years old at that time. Of that smaller group, only two others are close to Stanley’s level of play: Miami Dolphins tackle Laremy Tunsil and Detroit Lions tackle Taylor Decker. It’s unlikely either one will be allowed to hit free agency, and hoping for it to happen would be foolish on the part of the Ravens.

Exercising Stanley’s fifth-year option doesn’t stop Baltimore from negotiating a long-term deal that’s more cap-friendly. It only ensures they’ll keep around a talented left tackle for one more season without having to resort to the franchise tag, which was about $14 million in 2018.

The Ravens have let offensive linemen leave in recent seasons only to struggle at those positions the following year. Right tackle Rick Wagner went to the Detroit Lions following the 2016 season and Baltimore failed to replace his play, eventually causing them to select Orlando Brown Jr. in the 2018 NFL draft. Center Ryan Jensen left last offseason, and the Ravens struggled with Matt Skura in his spot. They still have a huge question mark there this offseason. Neither right tackle nor center is as difficult to replace as left tackle, and neither is as disastrous to an offense when not done correctly.

Considering Baltimore is trying to build an offense around quarterback Lamar Jackson, they can’t skimp at an important position. And a talented left tackle is often at the top of the checklist for any offense. If the Ravens truly want to surround Jackson with the talent he’ll need to succeed, Stanley is worth the money he’ll command because the hole he’d leave would be far too big.

Marlon Humphrey Jersey

Long-term plans are laughable when a short-term solution is needed.

Imagine someone who is hopelessly single putting a down payment on a church building for a future wedding date. The idea is silly, of course. Yet as the Kansas City Chiefs rebuild their defensive depth charts, especially at cornerback, some long-term planning needs to be kept in mind throughout the entire rebuilding process.

As the Chiefs continue to remake the secondary and import new cornerbacks to round out the roster, the needs feel very immediate. That’s for good reason. Even after signing Bashaud Breeland to a one-year deal, the Chiefs have two reliable vets at the position in Kendall Fuller and Breeland and this year’s “hope he plays like he did down the stretch” candidate in Charvarius Ward. Other than that, the cupboards are bare.

The losses have been significant at the position over the last two offseasons, and Brett Veach failed to make it a priority in his first draft. The Chiefs have lost two outside corners in Marcus Peters and Steven Nelson in successive seasons, and that doesn’t include the loss of depth in both years as well. Over the last two springs, the Chiefs have also said goodbye to Josh Shaw, Orlando Scandrick, Kenneth Acker, Terrance Mitchell, Phillip Gaines, and Darrelle Revis.

Whether or not those players were valuable to the Chiefs, the sheer number of losses indicates a secondary in transition, one dependent on short-term moves. It will be some time until the depth chart feels settled at cornerback.

For now, Veach’s work is still in the “immediate” stage at cornerback. Relying on Ward to succeed when so many other corners have failed under the same “flashed late-season success” banner feels like a fool’s errand. At the very least, the Chiefs need talent and bodies at the position and that’s just to field a full defense. If any significant injury occurred, this pass defense is shot.

Mark Andrews Jersey

NORMAN — There’s been plenty of attention on Oklahoma’s five-star wide receivers Trejan Bridges, Jadon Haselwood and Theo Wease during spring football drills.

Coach Lincoln Riley — who hauled in the trio with a strong recruiting pitch focused on his innovative attack — won’t let OU fans forget Austin Stogner, who he labels as the country’s most highly recruited tight end.

“Physically, all of them are good enough to play and be able to help you soon,” Riley said. “We thought they would be and they are. Mentally, how do they continue to prepare? How do they handle their bodies. How do they handle all the transitions? There’s still a lot of question marks out there on these guys.

“But there’s no doubt the capability is there. You like what we’ve seen from them thus far. If they can improve at a steady rate, they can be a special quartet of guys there.”

The group hasn’t been made available for interviews this spring. The first glimpse of them outside two 15-minute chunks of open practice to the media will be in the April 13 spring game inside Memorial Stadium. Not much more is known about the college transition outside of their numbers (Bridges is No. 8, Haselwood 11, Stogner 18 and Wease 10).

Jalen Hurts and Tanner Mordecai are the only Sooners scholarship quarterbacks this spring.

For Hurts, it’s an opportunity to not only get acquainted with the newcomers, but the veteran skill players as all attempt to get on the same page of Riley’s offense.

“I firmly believe we all have the ability to do the things that we need to do to get where we want to go and do the things we want to do,” Hurts said. “It’s all about meshing together as a group, as an offensive unit, and kind of finding that connection between each other

After numerous practices, what’s it been like working with the early enrollees catching passes?

Said Mordecai: “They’re special. They’re really good dudes. I mean they can play. I mean that’s why they were ranked so high and that’s why they’re here. They enrolled early, they gave up that last semester of high school and they’re balling out there and they’re working really hard. So we’re glad to have those guys for sure.”

CeeDee Lamb sounds like a grizzled old veteran when asked about Haselwood and Wease.

Less than 24 months ago, Lamb was only the program’s third true freshman to start a season opener. Now he’s watching his young teammates’ growth spurts.

“They’re very talented, versatile, they want to learn about the speed of the game and how to adjust. Having an ‘it’ factor in college I feel like is the main thing. Them two guys, they have it,” Lamb said. “They’re in the meeting room, they want to learn, they’re asking questions. I could see myself doing that. My freshman year I was doing that. I feel like I’m very confident in them guys. If I were to ever go down, God forbid, I’m comfortable with them two guys going in.”

Cale Gundy, OU’s inside wide receivers coach, said that 90 percent of the offensive playbook has been introduced to the early enrollees.

Gundy said the install is put in and recycled on certain practice days. It’s a motivator for young players.

“We don’t baby them,” Gundy said. “We put it in and challenge them to learn it in meetings. And when they’re away from here and they’re not doing their (academic) schoolwork, you’ve gotta learn this offense.”

Bridges and Stogner are playing inside wide receiver positions along with veterans Grant Calcaterra, Lee Morris, Drake Stoops, Mykel Jones and Nick Basquine (who is still waiting an NCAA ruling for a medical hardship waiver).

Gundy was asked about Bridges.

“He’s just a good player. You can always tell good players that are out there. And he’s young. He’s still learning. But when the ball is thrown in the air, he finds a way to catch the ball,” Gundy said.

Mark Andrews preceded Calcaterra, who is preceding Stogner at the tight end position.

“He’s been really good. It’s been fun to be sort of the older guy and watch him grow and develop,” Calcaterra said of Stogner. “Very long, great catch radius, runs good routes. He’s been blocking well. I’m excited to get to know him more on and off the field.”

Gundy said that in busy practices, there’s plenty of noise during live situations.

“Can you focus and can you maintain and understand what you’re doing and play fast? Those guys are getting there,” Gundy said.

Lamar Jackson Jersey

Lamar Jackson could make the Baltimore Ravens the most exciting team in the NFL. This is a fairly bold statement for a team that heads into the NFL Draft with Willie Snead and Chris Moore as the best receivers on the roster. The fact of the matter is that Jackson is the most dynamic athlete on the field in a league where you almost have to be a Greek god like athlete to be employed.

Jackson constantly gets compared to Michael Vick. In 2001 Vick was a rookie quarterback who played in eight games and his athleticism was eye-popping. In eight games, Vick went 50-113 passing for 785 yards, two touchdowns and three picks while running for 289 yards. Jackson has played in seven regular season games and his statistics are as follows: 99-170 for 1,201 yards with six touchdowns and three picks. Jackson also rushed for 695 yards.

In the early 2000’s Vick was the flashiest player on the field and his highlight reel led SportsCenter telecasts on a fairly regular basis. Jackson is working at a rate that is more advanced than Vick. The Ravens have gotten a lot more attention since Jackson took Joe Flacco’s job. It’s because Jackson makes plays that are conversation starters. He is easily the flashiest player the Ravens have ever had.

While Jackson is still an unfinished product, he is more advanced than many analysts seem to think. He may be so good at running with the ball in his hands that his passing skills get over looked.

Rookie quarterbacks didn’t look great in 2018 if you take Baker Mayfield out of the equation. Jackson may have been running a make shift offense that wasn’t sustainable but he made some big time throws and some of his rushing attempts were unbelievable.

The NFL has had dual threat quarterbacks before. There has never been any one with this much potential. By the end of his career Jackson may not even be mentioned in the same breath as Vick. Jackson could become a far superior player.

Hayden Hurst Jersey

In his final draft as the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager, Ozzie Newsome went out with a bang, finishing his storied career with one of his finest drafts. Through six trades and 12 picks, Newsome built an impressive class that made contributions immediately. Though it’s far too early to definitively comment on the group, it appears to be one of the finest draft classes in franchise history.

Newsome’s fantastic maneuvering on draft night netted the Ravens a top player at a position of need — tight end Hayden Hurst at pick No. 25 — and a franchise quarterback several picks later — Lamar Jackson at No. 32. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. considered Baltimore one of the biggest winners in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Almost a year later, those high marks still hold up.

In his re-evaluation of each team’s 2018 draft class, Kiper upgraded the Ravens’ haul to an A-minus grade. Only the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts received higher grades for their classes.

“Because of how good the rookie classes looked in Indianapolis, Cleveland and Denver, this Ravens draft — GM Ozzie Newsome’s last — went a little under the radar,” Kiper wrote. “There are some really good pieces here, though.”

The gem of the class is, of course, Jackson. The legacy of this class is ultimately predicated on Jackson’s success, and should he become the franchise quarterback he was drafted to be, this class would be nestled with the vaunted 1996 class as one of the Ravens’ best ever. So far, Kiper seems to think that the Jackson pick is panning out.

“[Jackson is] an elite athlete and runner, and there were times when he befuddled defensive coordinators,” wrote Kiper. “He hit some big throws as John Harbaugh & Co. changed their offense to play to the rookie’s strengths.”

While Jackson gets most of the attention, lost in the fold are the other quality offensive players Baltimore picked up in the draft. Of the Ravens’ first four selections — Hurst, Jackson, offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and tight end Mark Andrews — all appear to be starting material. Also worth mentioning is running back Gus Edwards, an undrafted rookie free agent who ascended from the practice squad to become Baltimore’s leading rusher last season.

While this draft class shows great promise already, there is still plenty of untapped potential. Because of injuries and more experienced depth above them, four of the 12 rookies — wide receivers Jordan Lasley and Jaleel Scott, safety DeShon Elliott and offensive tackle Greg Senat — didn’t play a single snap in 2018. In addition, cornerback Anthony Averett and linebacker Kenny Young could both see more playing time after showing flashes of talent last season.