It is likely that over the next few years, the top ten QB’s and their salaries will account for 20% or more of their teams cap and cash. So, will we have teams that have a great QB surrounded by a bunch of average players? Yes, there will be some. Will the Ravens be able to afford their best players going forward? Probably not, there’s too many of them. However, they will rely on their coaches to develop players and their scouts to find cheap talent. There will be more pressure on teams who pay their QB the lion’s share of the cap to develop undrafted players. The conundrum here that exists for coaches is that the new CBA took away their ability to coach players up on the field in the off-season. Now pre-season and camp is the only time to really develop young players. Superior coaching staffs that actually “teach” will manufacture winning seasons with average talent.
The main reason why John Harbaugh outbid seven other teams to hire Juan Castillo as his run game coordinator (overseeing the O-line) is to develop cheap lineman into serviceable players. We all know Juan will develop late round picks and undrafted free agents. That’s been his identity!
The Eagles only drafted two 1st round linemen the 13 years he was the head O-line coach. Bubba Miller, Hank Fraley, Artist Hicks, Nick Cole, and Austin Howard were all undrafted free agents who he developed into solid starters. During 12 of those 13 years, the Eagles never had a drafted center and averaged two college free agents as starters in each year. The year the Eagles went to the Super Bowl they played with two undrafted free agents on the line. When C Hank Fraley was up for a new contract they let him go to the Browns via free agency and just developed another guy. Expect Joe Banner to put the same formula in place if he gets a QB he covets and an O-line coach he trusts to develop young players.
So what does all this mean? This formula saved the team from having to pay and/or draft top lineman so they can put the money elsewhere. So I would suspect as long as the Ravens have Juan Castillo they will not be drafting any lineman in the top three rounds for the foreseeable future.