You’re not going to believe this, but the Baltimore Ravens are emerging at the front of the pack in the race to sign a talented street free agent wide receiver. I hope you were sitting down for that one because such a move is totally unprecedented and out of character for them. That or, you know, the exact opposite.
I wrote on the morning after Dez Bryant was released by the Dallas Cowboys after eight seasons that the Ravens were very likely to be among the teams to show the most interest in him. A short time later, we are seeing exactly those sorts of reports.
According to Ian Rapoport, for example, no team has shown more interest in Bryant since his release than have the Ravens, who continue to be active in the wide receiver market in spite of the fact that they have already signed two presumed or potential starters this offseason.
While the Baltimore Ravens (rather than Baltimore as a whole) might not have the longest history in the league, it is quite striking that so much of their success at the wide receiver position has come from those that they have acquired as free agents, in spite of the fact that they have had no shortage of wide receivers that they have selected in the draft.
From recent signings such as Mike Wallace and Steve Smith to older names like Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason, the best wide receivers the team has had in their history have come from the drafts of other teams. Torrey Smith has arguably been their most accomplished homegrown wide receiver.
And so Baltimore seems to be hoping to field a wide receiver attack made up entirely of outside additions, which will pretty much be the case if they manage to land Bryant. Already with Michael Crabtree and John Brown in tow, these would clearly be their top three at the position, also of whom would be 2018 free agency additions.
Rapoport noted that other teams such as the Bills and Saints have also expressed interest in Bryant, but that neither of those teams seem as willing as Baltimore to make an aggressive move to lock him up. Of note, Joe Flacco is a quarterback who likes to throw the jump ball, and that is an area in which the former Cowboy can help.
Baltimore is already without its top three wide receivers from a season ago, Wallace having signed with the Eagles, Jeremy Maclin being released after not working out, and Michael Campanero signing with the Titans. Former first-round pick Breshad Perriman seems to be on his way out at this point. They are certainly avoiding a situation in which they would have to depend upon him to perform.