Your Ravens Off-Season Guide

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Here’s your Ravens’ guide to the offseason, complete with a list of agents, the 2018 schedule, first-round draft order, and the leaguewide calendar.


RAVENS 2018 FREE-AGENT CLASS: Free-agent signing period starts when the new league year begins on March 14.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (14): With four or more years’ experience, a player can sign with another team with no compensation to the Ravens (years of experience in parentheses): CB Brandon Boykin (6), G Luke Bowanko (4), WR-RS Michael Campanaro (4), TE Crockett Gillmore (4), G-T James Hurst (4), G-C Ryan Jensen (4), LB Steven Johnson (6), DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (4) QB Ryan Mallett (7), LB C.J. Mosley (4, with 2018 club option), RB Terrance West (4), TE Benjamin Watson (14), WR Mike Wallace (9), DE Brent Urban (4)

RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (0): With three years’ experience, another club can tender an offer sheet up and until April. 22. The Ravens would have seven days to match.

EXCLUSIVE-RIGHTS FREE AGENTS (6): With two years’ or less experience, a player has no negotiating leverage: RB Alex Collins, CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, TE Vince Mayle, LB Patrick Onwuasor, G Maurquice Shakir, G Matt Skura

2018 Schedule 

(NOTE: Information re dates, kickoff times, and TV networks will be released on or about April 19)

HOME: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Oakland, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Buffalo (placement game)

AWAY: Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, Los Angeles Chargers, Atlanta, Carolina, Tennessee (placement game)

The Ravens will have nine games against teams that had winning records in 2017, as well as seven games against 2017 playoff teams. The team will play 13 of 16 games in the Eastern time zone.

The two placement games are determined by a team’s finish the previous season. The Ravens finished second in the AFC North in 2017. Placement opponents are defined as those who had the same finish in the standings as did the Ravens (and here’s the critical part) in divisions from the same conference the Ravens aren’t already playing in their entirety in the coming year. The Ravens are playing the entire AFC West and NFC South in 2018. That leaves Buffalo (the second-place finisher) in the AFC East and Tennessee (the second-place finisher) in the AFC South.


(NOTE: Team, 2017 record and opponents’ 2017 win percentage; ties determined by weaker schedule strength; order of positions 21-32 to be finalized by playoff results; Super Bowl winner will pick at No. 32.)

1. Cleveland Browns: 0-16 (.520 strength of schedule)
2. New York Giants: 3-13 (.531)
3. Indianapolis Colts: 4-12 (.480)
4. Cleveland Browns: 0-16 (.520) (from Houston)
5. Denver Broncos: 5-11 (.492)

6. New York Jets: 5-11 (.520)
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 5-11 (.555)
8. Chicago Bears: 5-11 (.559)
T9. San Francisco 49ers: 6-10 (.512)
T9. Oakland Raiders: 6-10 (.512)

11. Miami Dolphins: 6-10 (.543)
12. Cincinnati Bengals: 7-9 (.465)
13. Washington Redskins: 7-9 (.539)
14. Green Bay Packers: 7-9 (.539)
15. Arizona Cardinals: 8-8 (.488)

16. Baltimore Ravens: 9-7 (.441)
17. Los Angeles Chargers: 9-7 (.457)
18. Seattle Seahawks: 9-7 (.492)
19. Dallas Cowboys: 9-7 (.496)
20. Detroit Lions: 9-7 (.496)

(The tie for the 9th pick will be broken by a coin flip.)

NOTE: Dates and times of events are subject to change.


Jan. 7 — Assistant coaches under contract to clubs that have byes in the Wild Card round can be interviewed for head coaching positions through the Wild Card round
Date TBA — “State Of The Ravens” press conference featuring majority owner Steve Bisciotti, Under Armour Performance Center, time TBA
Jan. 14 — Assistant coaches under contract to clubs that won Wild Card games may be interviewed for head coaching positions through the Divisional playoff round
Jan. 15 – Deadline for collegiate players to declare for early-entry draft eligibility
Jan. 20 – East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.; NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, StubHub Center, Carson, Calif.
Jan. 27 – Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Ala.
Jan. 28 — An assistant coach whose team is participating in the Super Bowl who has previously interviewed for another club’s head-coaching job may have a second interview no later than the Sunday preceding the Super Bowl


Feb. 5 – Waiver system begins for 2018
Feb. 20 – First day to designate franchise or transition players
Feb. 27-Mar. 5 — NFL Combine Timing and Testing, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis


March 6 – Deadline for clubs to designate franchise and transition players (4 p.m., EST)
March 12-14 — Clubs are permitted to enter into contract negotiations with certified agents of players who will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the current league year.
March 14 — Before 4 p.m. (EST), clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.
March 14 — Before 4 p.m. (EST), clubs must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation.
March 14 — Before 4 p.m. (EST), clubs must submit a minimum salary offer to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts and who have fewer than three seasons of free agency credit.
March 14 — All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4 p.m. (EST). All clubs must have their top 51 players under the salary cap before 4 p.m. (EST), and the 2018 league year, trading and free agency period begin at 4 p.m. (EST).
March 25-28 – Annual League Meeting; Orlando


April 2 – Teams that have hired a new head coach after the end of the 2017 regular season may begin offseason workout program
April 16 – Teams with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout program
April 20 – Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
April 25 – Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents
April 26 – 83rd Annual NFL Selection Meeting (“The Draft”); AT&T Stadium; Arlington, Texas; 8 p.m. EST (Round One)
April 27 — NFL Draft, Day Two, 7 p.m. (Rounds Two and Three)
April 28 — NFL Draft, Day Three, noon (Rounds Four through Seven)


May 4-7 — RAVENS ROOKIE MINICAMP, Under Armour Performance Center
May 8 — Final day tender offers can be made to unrestricted free agents for exclusive negotiating rights
May 14 – Rookie Football Development Program begins
May 21-23 — NFL Spring League Meeting, Atlanta
May-June (dates TBA) — Ravens’ organized team activity practices (OTAs) and three-day mandatory minicamp, Under Armour Performance Center


June 1-3 — Ravens Beach Bash and Council of Baltimore Ravens Roosts Convention and Parade, Ocean City
Mid-June — RAVENS MANDATORY MINICAMP; Under Armour Performance Center, Owings Mills
June 15 — Deadline for old teams to withdraw original qualifying offer to restricted free agents and maintain exclusive negotiating rights with submitted tender of 110 percent of previous year’s salary
Late June — Rookie Transition Program for all clubs. Attendance mandatory for all rookies


July 16 — Deadline for designated franchise free agents to sign multi-year extensions. After this date, players can sign only one-year contracts and cannot sign extensions until after the team’s last regular-season game.
July 23 — Veteran free-agent signing periods ends here, or first scheduled day of the first NFL training camp, whichever is later.
July 23 – Signing period ends for unrestricted free agents to whom a May 8 offer was tendered and for transition players with outstanding tenders
Late July (date TBA) — RAVENS’ TRAINING CAMP OPENS, Under Armour Performance Center (could be mid-July if Ravens are selected to play in the Hall of Fame Game)


Aug. 2 — Hall of Fame Game; Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium; Canton, Ohio; teams TBA; 8 p.m. (NBC)
Aug. 4 — Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Induction Ceremony; Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium; Canton, Ohio; 6 p.m. (NFL Network)
Aug. 7 — Deadline for under-contract players to report to earn a season of free-agency credit; unsigned rookies acquired in the draft that have not signed by this date may not be traded to another club in 2018
Aug. 9-11 – First preseason games
Aug. 16-18 – Second preseason games
Aug. 23-25 – Third preseason games
Aug. 30 – Final preseason games


Sept. 1 — Roster cutdown deadline to maximum of 53 players (6 p.m. EST)
Sept. 2 – Claiming period for players placed on waivers expires at noon EST. Teams may begin to establish ten-man practice squads at 1 p.m. EST.

Sept. 6 — 99TH NFL REGULAR SEASON BEGINS; Super Bowl LII champion vs. opponent TBA, 8:30 p.m. (NBC)
Sept. 9-10 – WEEK ONE; Sunday and Monday games
Sept. 11 — Players still on the active roster on this date after having been on the roster for one regular-season game are guaranteed their full 2017 salary


Oct. 7 – Week Five; flex scheduling begins
Oct. 30 — Trading period ends at 4 p.m. (EST)


Nov. 15 — Signing deadline for unrestricted and restricted free agents who were tendered a qualifying offer before June 1; signing deadline for transition and franchise free agents who remained unsigned by another club


Dec. 30 – Week 17; REGULAR SEASON ENDS
Dec. 31 – Teams may begin signing their own free-agent players for the 2019 season


Jan. 5-6 — Wild Card Weekend (ESPN, NBC, CBS, Fox)
Jan. 12-13 — Divisional Playoff Round (NBC, CBS, Fox)
Jan. 20 — NFC Championship Game, 3 p.m. (Fox); AFC Championship Game, 6:40 p.m. (CBS)
Jan. 27 — AFC-NFC Pro Bowl; Camping World Stadium, Orlando; 3 p.m. (ESPN)


Feb. 2 – NFL Honors, including announcement of Hall of Fame Induction Class of 2019, Atlanta; 9 p.m. (NFL Network)

Feb. 3 – SUPER BOWL LIII; AFC champion vs. NFC champion; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta; 6:30 p.m. (CBS)


About Joe Platania

Veteran beat writer, Joe Platania, is entering his 39th year in Baltimore media. He covers sports with insight, humor, and prescient eye. A former longtime member in good standing of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association and the Pro Football Writers of America, Platania manned the CFL Stallions beat for The Avenue Newspaper Group of Essex (1994 and ’95) and the Ravens beat since the team’s inception — one of only three local writers to do so — for PressBox, The Avenue, and other local publications and radio stations. A sought-after contributor and host on talk radio and TV, he often appears on “Inside PressBox” (10:30 a.m. Sundays) and he can be heard at 10 a.m. Saturdays on the “Purple Pride Report,” WQLL-AM (1370). He has also appeared on WMAR-TV’s “Good Morning Maryland” (2009), Comcast SportsNet’s “Washington Post Live” (2004-06), and WJZ-TV’s “Football Talk” postgame show — with legend Marty Bass (2002-04). Platania is the only sports journalist in Maryland history to have been a finalist for both the annual Sportscaster of the Year award (1998, which he won) and Sportswriter of the Year (2010). He is also a four-time Maryland-Delaware-District of Columbia Press Association award winner. Platania is a graduate of St. Joseph’s (Cockeysville), Calvert Hall College High School, and Towson University, where he earned a degree in Mass Communications. He lives in Cockeysville, MD.

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