A few Baltimore Ravens are set to get cut ahead of the start of the 2021/22 NFL season as the team is going into training camp with a loaded roster. Management is unwilling to have a repeat of the playoff exit that saw them get booted out of postseason play by the Buffalo Bills and, to that end, has overhauled the wide receiver department.
The team already boasts one of the most formidable rushing teams in the league and an improved passing game should enhance their prospects of winning the Super Bowl. The bookmakers in Maryland think that the Ravens odds of winning a championship next year are pretty great and have them at 11/1 on that front.
As far as defence goes, the Ravens’ roster is among the best in the league. They’re a remarkable unit great at stopping a running offence and their pass-blocking secondary isn’t half bad. There’s hardly any doubt that they will make the playoffs but there’s a lot of work to be done if a Super Bowl is to come their way.
It’s expected that there will be lots of fighting for positions and there should be notable changes to the offensive line given the struggles therein last term. On that note, there will be some players who might not make the final cut.
Below are three players who are expected to get released prior to the start of the inbound campaign.
The Ravens have done some work in order to fashion some depth at right tackle. Former first-round pick Andre Smith could be facing the axe as a result as he has failed to live up to expectations and has put an inconsistent career on display. The team is also pretty deep at right tackle and things look grim for Smith in that regard.
According to Bleacher Report, Smith is one of the players who should end up on the bubble going into camp.
“The Baltimore Ravens signed right tackle Andre Smith to a one-year, $1.1 million contract in February 2020 to shore up their offensive line depth. However, he opted out of the 2020 season in late July amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” the piece reads.
“The 34-year-old has experience at both tackle spots, which should make him a superb backup behind starters Ronnie Stanley (left) and Alejandro Villanueva (right). The Ravens could use more depth after trading Orlando Brown Jr. to Kansas City this offseason.
“However, Smith skipped voluntary OTAs this offseason “and looked like he was playing catch-up at minicamp,” according to Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun. Over his 254 snaps with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2019, he got called for four penalties and allowed three sacks, which resulted in a miserable 51.0 PFF grade.”
As mentioned above, Baltimore has a great rushing game. Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards are always a threat in the backfield but there are also three other running backs in the squad, with Justice Hill, Nate McCrary, and Ty’Son Williams.
The team is unlikely to have five running backs next season so one player should be leaving. Williams is thought to be the most likely to leave as Hill and McCrary are popular with the coaching staff and could be put on the practice squad. Hill, Williams, and McCrary should be competing for a depth spot but it’s hard to say the same for Williams at the moment.
Baltimore experienced some difficulty with the center position last season so changes should be afoot. Patrick Mekari was the one who filled in as a starter around the second half of the campaign but hardly offered an upgrade and could be blamed for Lamar Jackson suffering a concussion as he snapped the ball over his head in the playoffs.
The team is already reported to be experimenting with the offensive line in order to determine who the best center is. Baltimore Sports and Life are reporting that the coaching staff had Bradley Bozeman taking reps at center during OTAs and were impressed with him.
“That leaves Mekari in a somewhat precarious position,” the publication states. “Though he played meaningful snaps at guard and tackle last season, he also has a more challenging path toward a starting job in 2021. The Ravens signed Kevin Zeitler and Alejandro Villanueva this offseason to take over at right guard and right tackle, respectively. With Ronnie Stanley returning from injury to serve as Jackson’s blindside protector, that leaves only the starting job at left guard clearly open for competition.
“And Mekari might not have the inside track at that position. Ben Powers and Tyre Phillips, each of which possesses starting experience at guard, will vie for the job as could third-round pick Ben Cleveland. If Mekari doesn’t win the competition, he could become trade fodder or a casualty of final cuts.”