While the Cleveland Browns have suddenly drawn the headlines in the AFC North, courtesy of a flurry of high-profile trades a few days ago, one team in particular has been left in its wake, and that would be the Baltimore Ravens, who are looking to return to the postseason after missing the dance for the past three years.
The Ravens’ top priority this offseason is to rebuild their group of wide receivers, as what they currently have had was already not sufficient, and on top of that, Mike Wallace is going to hit free agency and quite likely leave, while the expectation is that the team will release Jeremy Maclin not even a year after signing him.
Cleveland just made it that much harder on them to upgrade the position after they acquired the biggest name ‘on the market’, though he was technically under the franchise tag, that being Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry, the fastest player to 400 catches in NFL history.
According to Pro Football Talk, the ol’ “source with knowledge” told the outlet that the decision for Landry came down to either the Browns or the Ravens, and we know how that worked out—at least for now. Remember, trades are not official until they are actually completed on Wednesday.
On top of that, a theoretical reunion with basically the only halfway decent wide receiver they ever drafted, Torrey Smith, was also steamrolled after he was instead traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a cornerback.
So now the Ravens will be entering free agency perhaps looking for two starting wide receivers on a relatively slim market that is going to result, as it did last year, in the overbidding of the top targets. Remember the deal that Markus Wheaton got last year? Of course, he likely will join that market himself, as the Bears are expected to release him.
The two big names on the market are Sammy Watkins, who was traded from the Buffalo Bills to the Los Angeles Rams last year, and Allen Robinson of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Both teams chose not to use the franchise tag on said wide receivers, the former having been passed over to tag another player.
While both are talented, neither have produced to a level that their natural abilities would indicate they are capable of, with injuries and the quality of quarterback play factoring into that. But the end result is that they will probably be overpaid.
The second tier of free agents currently schedule to be available includes the likes of Paul Richardson, Jordan Matthews, Donte Moncrief, Terrelle Pryor, and fellow Jaguar Marqise Lee. Other names are going to be available, of course.
And lest we forget, Baltimore has a history of scavenging the waiver wire for veterans who are released. That is how they acquired Maclin, Wallace, and Steve Smith before him. They also traded for Anquan Boldin previously. Basically, don’t make them try to draft another one.