It appears the Baltimore Ravens were waiting for the NFL to release the 2021 salary cap figures before making too many moves. With the NFL announcing that the 2021 salary cap will sit at $ 182.5 million, the Ravens began to make some moves.
According to Ravens staff writer Ryan Mink, Baltimore officially awarded the bids to three players: running back Gus Edwards (RFA), center Trystan Colon-Castillo (ERFA) and linebacker Kristian Welch (ERFA).
Although the Ravens did not announce what offers were given to each player, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Edwards received a second-round tender. With the 2021 salary cap finalized, a second-round bidding will cost Baltimore $ 3.384 million for one season, according to Over The Cap. As a restricted free agent, Edwards can negotiate with other teams, but they will have to give the Ravens a second-round pick if Baltimore does not meet an offer sheet. Considering the value of running backs in the NFL in this era, Edwards is unlikely to attract much interest, if any, given the bidding.
Just because Edwards is now locked up until the 2021 season under a restricted free agent tender doesn’t mean the Ravens are done with him. Given limited cap space this season, signing Edwards to a long-term contract could reduce his hit at the 2021 cap, freeing up valuable funds to sign other players in free agency. In his pre-free agency press conference, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta noted that Edwards was going to be a part of the team “one way or another,” but seemed to indicate that they would like to settle instead. of having to. trust the bidding.
As part of a three-headed backfield in Baltimore last season, Edwards didn’t come up with insane stats on his own. Still, Edwards ran the ball 144 times, gaining 723 yards and six touchdowns in the process while adding another 129 receiving yards on nine receptions. Edwards’ average of 5.0 yards rushing per carry in 2020 was tied for ninth among the entire NFL, or seventh among running backs.
With less than three cumulative NFL seasons and expired contracts, Colon-Castillo and Wech are exclusive rights free agents. Like ERFA, Baltimore can offer minimum one-year league contracts and players cannot negotiate with other teams. Both are likely to make $ 780,000 in 2021 before becoming restricted free agents next offseason.
While center is one of the positions the Ravens are expected to tackle this offseason, Colon-Castillo could also be in the mix, depending on what Baltimore does. Colón-Castillo started two games last season when the Ravens dealt with injuries, a COVID-19 outbreak and mediocre play at the position.
Welch didn’t have much playing time on defense, watching the field for just eight plays. However, he received plenty of playing time on special teams, seeing 173 (41%) of the special teams plays last season.
The Ravens still have some other ERFAs and RFAs that have not yet been auctioned. Bettor Johnny Townsend (ERFA), linebacker Chris Board (RFA) and wide receiver Antoine Wesley (ERFA) were not yet among the bidders. While Baltimore could still do so, the Ravens already have a bettor in Sam Koch and they will likely target wide receiver in free agency or the 2021 NFL draft. Unfortunately for the Board, his RFA status meant that it was unlikely that he would receive an offer due to the higher cost against the salary cap. However, if Baltimore wants to keep him close, they could try signing him to a lower value extension.