The Baltimore Ravens are looking to upgrade at receiver and special teams in the off season this year. Much of that is sure to be done in the draft but the Ravens have always been good at finding low risk, high reward players in free agency as well.
The problem with relying on players to step right in out of college is that you have no idea how their skill set will transfer to the NFL. Sometimes it is better to bring in a proven commodity. Enter Eddie Royal.
Royal has seen his numbers steadily decline in Denver. Some might assume that this means his skills are on the decline but at the young age of 25 I think he still has a lot of game left in him. The problem in Denver has more to do with the coaching and quarterback carousel that has been the circus that is the Broncos over the past few seasons.
Eddie Royal was drafted in 2008 in the second round (42nd over all) by the Broncos. He was voted the Pepsi rookie of the week in weeks one and ten. In week one he had 9 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown against DeAngelo Hall. Royal ended the season with 91 receptions for 980 yards and five touchdowns. This was good enough for second all time for a rookie receiver. (second to Anquan Boldin)
In 2009 Royal became the 11th player in NFL history to return a punt (71yards) and a kick off (93 yards) for touchdowns in the same game. He was also the first player since the 1970 NFL merger to record his teams longest run 71 yards, reception 93 yards, kick off return 95 yards and punt return 36 yards.
Royal has also become one of only two players in the NFL to post at least 2,000 yards from scrimmage and have 2,000 return yards since 2008. The other being Darren Sproles.
I think that Eddie Royal is being extremely under used in Denver and could most definitely have a resurgence to his career if he were to come to Baltimore and work with a real quarterback. Royal made $555,000 in 2011 and under the new CBA, must be paid a minimum $700,000 in 2012. It is safe to say he will be earning more than that, whether it is in a Bronco uniform or not. I don't believe Denver will place the franchise tender of $9.4-$9.8 Million or the Transition Tender of $8.4-$8.8 Million on Eddie. The market right now for a Wide Receiver-Return man runs around $1.3-$1.5 Million per season. Since his rookie year, Royal has had to endure two seasons of a coach not utilizing his talents (McDaniels), different Head coaches with different philosophies, three Quarterbacks and most recently, a drop off in the passing offense. It is no wonder his numbers have steadily dropped. Still, it can't be said that he has helped his cause much for a big payoff in a second contract. -(Mile High Report)
If the Ravens could get Royal for a good price and bring in someone through the draft to create a healthy competition as a returner and for the third receiver spot I think it would be a great fit for the organization. Royal has a similar skill set to DeSean Jackson in Philadelphia. He just has not had the consistency or continuity he has needed to become a better player at the NFL level. I think he could have that here.