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Baltimore Ravens free agent targets who can help the team win in 2023

Heading into the 2023 season, the most urgent free agency-related matter for the Baltimore Ravens still, somehow remains what the team will end up doing regarding quarterback Lamar Jackson. While that’s relatively insane, we will also need to take a look at other key areas Baltimore needs to address in free agency, especially on offense.

Before we get to all of that — and in the interest of shining some light on a discombobulated fanbase — the team did manage to finish the 2022 season with a record of 10-7. They also made the playoffs despite the injury to Jackson. While it didn’t turn out as Ravens fans had hoped following a 24-17 loss to the Bengals, doing all of that with Tyler Huntley under center should be considered a victory and a sign of better things to come in 2023.

Related: Baltimore Ravens GM throws shade at Rashod Bateman

The Ravens have already made multiple coaching changes with the biggest one easily being the resignation of offensive coordinator Greg Roman, a Ravens “fan favorite” to discuss and disparage on a regular basis. After a long search for his replacement, Baltimore went to the college ranks and hired former Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

It was an intriguing choice, in a great way. The Ravens opted to go outside the box and made a choice fans really can’t argue with. Monken’s success in making Stetson Bennett IV look like the second coming of Tom Brady cannot be emphasized enough.

Given that key refreshing change, let’s get into the free agents the Ravens should be looking to land. It’s worth noting that Baltimore sits at No. 8 in salary cap space with $25.98 million to spend.

Lamar Jackson, quarterback

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

It is absolutely incredible that with NFL free agency right around the corner, we are still discussing what will happen with Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. This thing should have been signed, sealed, and delivered ages ago. It’s almost comical that he’s even on this list. Yet here we are, with our collective mouths agape, wondering what in the world the Ravens will decide to do with the dynamic, dual-threat quarterback.

Related: Lamar Jackson getting help in contract talks with Baltimore Ravens

Assuming the two sides don’t reach an agreement very soon, the deadline to assign the franchise tag to a player is March 7. Should the Ravens end up placing the exclusive franchise tag on Jackson, both sides could proceed with negotiations and possibly agree to the long-term fully guaranteed deal he’s been seeking.

Now if they just stick the non-exclusive franchise tag on him, it kicks open the door for Jackson to negotiate with other teams, and the rumors start flying like wild geese.

It sure feels like we’re well beyond the point of being surprised by whatever the end result proves to be here. But for as consistent as this Ravens franchise has been — 10-plus wins over four of the last five seasons — it’s pretty remarkable how poorly this entire situation has been handled.

Related: Baltimore Ravens made Lamar Jackson a massive contract offer

Allen Lazard, wide receiver

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Baltimore Ravens
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Wide receiver Allen Lazard is a pretty well-known name among fans mostly because he’s spent all five of his NFL seasons playing with Aaron Rodgers, and probably for fantasy football reasons too.

Honestly, though, if you take a look at his numbers this isn’t a player who’s really in any kind of position to command a monster deal. To be fair, however, Lazard has proved to be reliable and also has a nice average per catch of 13.2 yards.

Perhaps of most significance, he brings that needed “red zone target size” at 6-foot-5.

But considering his best year — by a wide margin — was last season with 60 catches for 788 yards, this feels like a mandatory phone call for Ravens executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta to make. And let’s be honest, DeCosta badly needs to be making phone calls after dropping this doozy of a quote about missing on wide receivers in the NFL Draft.

“There have been some guys that have been successful players for us that were draft picks. We’ve never really hit on that All-Pro type of guy, which is disappointing, but it’s not for a lack of effort. … It’s one of those anomalies that I really can’t explain, other than to say that we’re not going to stop trying. “

Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta on team’s track record of drafting receivers (H/T Sarah Ellison)

Wow. Not ideal, DeCosta.

True or not, this isn’t exactly a confidence booster for players on the current roster. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman did not take this one well at all and pounced in a since-deleted Tweet.

It’s great to be candid but sometimes the best route is to say less.

Rock Ya-Sin, cornerback

Syndication: Florida Times-Union
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA TODAY NETWORK

For starters, in honor of the Ravens’ storied defensive history, a name like Rock Ya-Sin feels destined to land in Baltimore.

In all seriousness, Ya-Sin would make for a stout addition to the secondary as he only allowed one touchdown in his 2022 campaign with the Las Vegas Raiders. When you consider everything going on with that debacle of a franchise, the safe guess is he will be quite eager to hear from other teams looking for help at cornerback.

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The only knock on what was an otherwise great season for the 26-year-old is he only played in 11 games last year, although that was not the case in his previous three seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

At 6 feet tall and 190 pounds, Ya-Sin brings the type of size and physicality that head coach John Harbaugh craves. Playing alongside imposing 205-pound cornerback Marlon Humphrey and 6-foot-4 safety Kyle Hamilton, it feels like the perfect youth movement signing to replace free agent Marcus Peters.

Jakobi Meyers, wide receiver

NFL: Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, wide receiver Allen Lazard has already been suggested as a must-call but assuming Lamar Jackson re-signs with the Ravens, why not make an aggressive attempt to load up the receiving corps for the guy?

Look at what transpired in Philly after Eagles maestro Howie Roseman stacked the deck, giving Jalen Hurts — another dual-threat quarterback — legitimate weapons on all sides.

If it doesn’t happen with the reliable and respected Meyers, then add free agents JuJu Smith-Schuster and Odell Beckham Jr. to the list.

The wide receiver situation in Baltimore has been puzzling for a long time, to the point non-Ravens fans might have even gotten a little tired of watching Jackson constantly make an attempt to connect with tight end Mark Andrews.

With new offensive coordinator Todd Monken in place, there’s no better time to flip what’s become a boring and predictable script.

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