Ravens invite four free agent receivers to mini-camp

Street Talk Ravens invite four free agent receivers to mini-camp

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens are auditioning a quartet of veteran unrestricted free agent wide receivers at their upcoming minicamp, including Jerry Porter, D.J. Hackett, Kelley Washington and Tab Perry, according to their respective agents.

The Ravens didn’t draft a wide receiver, and Pro Bowl wide receiver Anquan Boldin remains with the Arizona Cardinals after repeatedly being linked to Baltimore and other NFL teams in trade speculation.

So, the Ravens are taking a look at some experienced receiver options and will decide by Monday whether to sign any of them.

"Yes, there will be some veteran receivers coming in for the minicamp," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a telephone interview with the 24×7. "It’s kind of up to the player if he wants to come in on a trial basis."

Asked to gauge the quality of the receivers trying out, Newsome replied: "We got what we did."

Two of the players the Ravens are evaluating, Washington and Hackett, recently tried out for the Washington Redskins and were offered contracts.

"I think this will be a good opportunity for D.J.," said Kevin Robinson, Hackett’s agent. "Obviously it’s a tryout, but D.J. is not afraid of competition at all. I think it’s a good situation. That’s why D.J. is doing it. Who knows what can happen? That’s why you take a look and show the teams what you can do."

Hackett caught 13 passes for 181 yards for the Carolina Panthers last season, and has registered 118 career receptions in five seasons for 1,575 yards and nine touchdowns. His top season was in 2006 with the Seattle Seahawks when he caught 45 passes for 610 yards.

However, Hackett has recently been hampered by ankle injuries.

"D.J. has this label of being injury-prone, but he’s not really an injury-prone guy," Robinson said. "He produces and you won’t see him drop passes. He’s a talented young man and a great character guy."

Porter, 30, was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars after catching 11 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown last season. He had been signed by Jacksonville to a six-year, $30 million contract that included $10 million in guaranteed money, but underwent hamstring surgery and wasn’t nearly as productive as expected.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound former West Virginia standout’s best season over the past three years was in 2007 with the Oak land Raiders when he caught 44 passes for 705 yards and six touchdowns. 

Entering his 10th NFL season, Porter has caught 295 career passes for 4,120 yards and 31 touchdowns.

The Washington, D.C., native is considered to be physically gifted, but clashed with management in Oakland and was suspended by coach Art Shell for four games for conduct detrimental to the team three years ago.

A former Cincinnati Bengals third-round draft pick, Washington caught one pass for three yards last season for the New England Patriots and blocked a punt.

"Kelley is excited about the opportunity," said Chad Speck, Washington’s agent. "He’s a big receiver and a very good athlete. He did very well at the Redskins’ minicamp, but is interested in the Ravens and wants to talk to them before making a decision."

Perry was out for the entire season last year with the Miami Dolphins due to a torn Achilles’ tendon.

With the Bengals for the previous three seasons, the former UCLA player caught 10 passes for 109 yards and one touchdown. He’s regarded as a strong special-teams performer. 

The Ravens made inquiries about Perry last year during free agency prior to him signing a one-year contract with the Dolphins.

The Ravens have two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Derrick Mason under contract as well as Mark Clayton and Demetrius Williams, but have been looking to bolster the position and add more size.

Mason is coming off offseason shoulder surgery, and Williams is running again after undergoing Achilles’ tendon surgery toward the end of last season.

All of the receiver candidates are imposing targets. Hackett is listed at 6-2, 208 pounds. Washington and Perry are both listed at 6-3, 215 pounds.

Following the draft, the Ravens agreed to a free agent deal with speedy undrafted Duke wide receiver Eron Riley, a 6-3, 208-pound second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection.

NOTES: The Ravens remain in contract talks with Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, but no deal is imminent. Suggs hasn’t signed his one-year, $10.2 million franchise tender and isn’t expected to attend the minicamp. "I don’t anticipate him being here in that he hasn’t signed the tender yet," Newsome said. … Several players are recovering from lingering injuries incurred last season, including starting offensive guard Marshal Yanda. He’s recovering from a pair of surgeries to repair three torn ligaments suffered against the Indianapolis Colts. At the end of the season, Yanda said he’s projected to be cleared for contact by the early portion of training camp. … Among the other players coming off lingering injuries: cornerbacks Samari Rolle (groin), Fabian Washington (shoulder), Frank Walker (shoulder) and Derrick Martin (labrum surgery) as well as running back Willis McGahee (arthroscopic knee surgery), outside linebacker Antwan Barnes (torn left pectoral surgery) and offensive tackles Adam Terry (arthroscopic knee surgery) and Willie Anderson (foot). Also, tight end Todd Heap had a painful back injury that limited him in the Ravens’ AFC title game loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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