Can Ravens find Effective Wide Receiver?

Street Talk Can Ravens find Effective Wide Receiver?

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Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti joked that he had a note in front of him that said “Do Not Tamper” when he addressed the media last week.

It was a reminder not to specifically talk about potential free agents still under contract with other teams. However, the Ravens are expected to aggressively pursue some big-time wide receivers once the market opens next month.

The most obvious target is Miami’s Jarvis Landry, who could officially become an unrestricted free agent if he doesn’t resign or get tagged by the Dolphins. Landry would be a key playmaker for quarterback Joe Flacco, especially if Mike Wallace signs with another team and/or Jeremy Maclin is a salary-cap casualty.

Landry, though, will carry a hefty price tag, likely in the range of five years and $70 million. He has earned that type of payday with his production.

Over four seasons, Landry has caught 400 passes for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns. Last season, he had 112 receptions for 987 yards and a career-high nine touchdowns. Landry earned three consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl.

As a result, the Ravens will have plenty of competition for his services if he does hit the free agent market. Teams can’t officially negotiate with free agents until March 12 and those players cannot sign a contract until two days later at 4 p.m.

Nonetheless, Landry is the type of player Ozzie Newsome needs to bring aboard to help win back some fans and make the offense at least potentially exciting. Other potential free-agent wide receivers the Ravens could target include the Jaguars’ Allen Robinson, the Rams’ Sammy Watkins and the Colts’ Donte Moncrief.

“We will be exploring all options in free agency and in the draft for targets for Joe,” Bisciotti said.

In addition, the Ravens will also look to add depth at wide receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Alabama WR Calvin Ridley

One of the players linked to the team is Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, who caught 55 passes for 896 yards and three touchdowns last season as a junior. He also came up big in the National Championship game against Georgia with a pair of touchdown receptions. Ridley, who is 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, is a tough route runner and has the speed to get downfield.

As a former player with the Crimson Tide, Newsome has close ties to the program. In the past four years, the Ravens have selected two Alabama players — linebacker C.J. Mosley and cornerback Marlon Humphrey — in the first round.

The Ravens, though, might have to trade up from the 16th overall pick to get him. Some draft boards have Ridley in the top 10.

Another potential candidate is Oklahoma State’s James Washington, who would provide another downfield threat. As a four-year letterman with the Cowboys, Washington caught 226 passes for 4,472 yards with 39 touchdowns.

Last season, Washington boosted his draft status with 74 catches for 1,549 yards with 13 touchdowns. He averaged almost 20 yards per reception over his career. However, Washington could potentially fall to the second round because of his 5-foot-10, 210-pound frame.

The Ravens’ brass fully understands the importance of this year’s free-agent market and draft. Look for them to deviate from the norm and make a splash once they clear some space with the salary cap.

“We’ll do what we have to do to fill our roster through the draft and through free agency,” Bisciotti said. “We’ve got some money, and we can create some more, so I’m not too worried about that right now. I think that what we figured out between what we have and what we can get, I think that we can make a splash and help us on the way to getting our offense clicking better.”

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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