Ravens Leaving Offense Behind During Free Agency Turnover

Since the end of last season, the Baltimore Ravens have lost no fewer than four starters on the offensive side of the ball. right tackle Rick Wagner signed a big-money contract in free agency, as did fullback Kyle Juszczyk, while wide receiver Steve Smith announced his retirement and center Jeremy Zuttah was traded in order to create cap space.

None of these position have been filled yet, although there may be some internal answers, albeit downgrades, for the loss of their two starting offensive linemen. The Ravens have made a number of significant moves so far during free agency, but outside of the addition of Danny Woodhead at running back—which comes against a four-game suspension for Kenneth Dixon—the offensive side of the ball has been left out of the upgrades.

Which is a bit perplexing when you consider the fact that the offense has been by far the bigger problem for the Ravens than has the defense. They still had one of the better defenses in the league in 2016, but their offense left quite a bit to be desired.

If the Ravens’ plan is to waltz into next season with the likes of John Urschel and James Hurst in the starting lineup, then they are in for a rude awakening. Joe Flacco already played with jitters last season coming off a year that ended with a torn ACL. Losing two of his protectors isn’t doing him any favors.

The loss of Smith is significant and cannot be understated. The Ravens basically have nobody of note now at the wide receiver position other than Mike Wallace, who success waxed and waned over the course of the season as opposing teams adjusted to him, even if he did have his best season in a couple of years.

There is former first-round draft pick Breshad Perriman, who caught 33 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns last season. Perhaps they are counting upon him to be able to take on a starting role for them in 2017, but one would have to think that they are looking at adding another player here.

The loss of Juszczyk is a curious one, as he is a player that did so many different things for the Ravens, so his contributions will have to be dispersed piecemeal among other players. He wasn’t the standard bulldozer type of fullback, though finding one of those might not be too hard to find.

While the Ravens do have a lot of work to do on the offensive side of the ball, there is of course time remaining. Many have speculated that the team will approach center Nick Mangold, who was released by the Jets earlier this year. That would be in keeping with their tendency to target street free agents to retain compensatory pick eligibility.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • steelburg

    Some of these moves are head scratchers I understand trying to reboot the defense. But they gutted there offensive line and let some nice pieces like Aiken and Juszczyk walk. The offensive line especially puzzles me because there offense is built on the QB holding the ball and taking deep shots, it’s going to be hard to do that with a shacky offensive line.

  • Michael James

    Their offense looks terrible now. Smith Sr., Juszczyk and Wagner were good players and (even more important) leaders. To be honest, I don’t see a single player that scares me on that offense.

  • ManRayX

    Kudo’s once again, Matthew, for sharing that pic of the stolidly unredoubtable #5 of the Balmore Birdies. . .captures the essential esprit de corps and indefatigable optimism of the Ratbird offense–Despite being a Steelers-centric blog, I am certain you have lifted the mood of Purple-n-Black Nation across the fruited plain with that stirring photographic tribute–Very hospitable and charitable of you to our AFC North Brothern. . .a tip of my Black-n-Gold cap to you and your generous ways.

  • heath miller

    so the ravens left the O behind ? … thats great … but my question is did we leave our O or our D behind in FA ….. we signed no one on D and one guy who has a 50/50 chance of even making the team on O…. so did we leave the D behind since we signed hunter? i think the answer is … .we left both the D and O behind the other teams since we were the most inactive team in F A … at least the ravens improved the D… what did we improve? or at least try to improve … oh we improved our cap space

  • Constantinople

    aaaaaaaaaaaahhh shyaaadaaap! *smack!*

  • Constantinople

    take it easy, dan snyder, i think we’re gonna be ok

  • Craig M

    It’s a long way to the seasons start and I’m sure we will make some positive changes/ improvements even if we have to wait for late team cuts.

  • RickM

    My guess is they wanted to retain Juszczyk. But he wisely tried FA and San Francisco gave him the surprising contract. I assume the betting favorite for their first two picks is WR and O-Line depending on who is available. They just have to improve the passing attack as you point out. I’m not sure it matters with ‘Mr. Inconsistency, I Blame Everyone Else’ as their QB.

  • 2winz

    the Steelers have signed their own players and kept this team together. we didnt really lose anything this offseason that we have not or can not replace. With heyward coming back and our 2nd year players developing.. we should be better than last year already. we will add through the draft, and fill in missing pieces through free agency

  • Sdale

    The one thing that may work in our favor here is that, with all of their focus on defense in FA, my gut tells me they will focus more on building the offense in the draft. That should allow a couple more good D players to be available to us as the draft progresses. At least that’s my hope 🙂

  • Matthew Marczi

    Who did the Steelers lose? Markus Wheaton?

  • heath miller

    yeah i liked him as well as sammy … i wish him well .. just not against us ..

  • Matthew Marczi

    In contrast, the Ravens lost Steve Smith, Jeremy Zuttah, Rick Wagner, and Kyle Juszczyk from their offense…and added a running back. The Steelers lost a wide receiver and presumably a running back and added a wide receiver and a running back, so who is ignoring their offense in free agency?

  • heath miller

    neither.. but the ravens are helping their D… we are not .. question .. would you rather have the RB and WR we lost or the ones we picked up?