Before the 2017-2018 season, the Baltimore Ravens must add a receiving threat. According to Spotrac, there are only five wide receivers under contract for 2017, and two names most Ravens fans wouldn’t recognize. Right now, the Ravens receiving corps include Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman and Chris Moore.
Not a bad foundation for any franchise, but they cannot be the entire squad; Baltimore must find another receiver.
Currently, the top wide receiver free agents include:
- Alshon Jeffery
- Pierre Garcon
- DeSean Jackson
- Vincent Jackson
- Victor Cruz
- Kamar Aiken
- Anquan Boldin
Instanly, I mark off D-Jax, Cruz and Aiken. D-Jax and Cruz are essentially different versions of Mike Wallace, fast go-route based receivers. Players capable of ‘taking the top off a defense.’ Baltimore needs another weapon style.
Kamar Aiken is expected to leave after the lack of playtime he received last season. In 2015, Aiken posted almost 1,000 yards; the next season he dropped on the depth chart and didn’t see the field enough. He was quoted saying 2016 was ‘probably the most frustrating year I’ve had,’ and it would affect his free agency decision.
Looking at the list, I suspect Alshon Jeffery is not on the Ravens radar. The Bears star wide-out will receive top-bidding money, something Baltimore doesn’t do, nor has the money for. Jeffery’s Market Value sits around $12.2 million. In 2017 the Ravens are spending $12.2 million total on their wide receiving unit. I suggest Ravens fans not get their hopes up, Jeffery will break the bank elsewhere.
This leaves Pierre Garcon, Vincent Jackson and Anquan Boldin. I believe Vincent is too old and is on a steep decline, but Baltimore has a knack for targeting exactly these types of wide receivers. A big-bodied possession receiver capable of third down catches is a critical need for the Ravens, Vincent might be the answer. If so, I much rather prefer Pierre Garcon. Pierre is four years younger than Jackson, and his stats prove he’s consistent as a receiver. The Redskins pass-catcher is good for 70 catches and 750+ yards a season. Only twice has he failed to do so, his rookie year for the Colts and his first season with Washington. Twice Garcon has eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving, 2013 and 2016.
Spotrac estimates Garcon’s worth around a three-year, $26.3 million contract.
With a proven track record and a contract within Ozzie’s comfort zone, the Ravens and Pierre look to be a perfect match.