The Baltimore Ravens are an organization not typically known for going after big, splashy free agency signings. Yet, the past few years the reputation is in the rearview mirrors, as they’ve brought in big names like Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Danny Woodhead and Elvis Dumervil.
Regardless of how they’re perceived to usually play the market, they’re again must navigate for value to succeed for the 2018-2019 NFL season. If they do opt to bring in some of the bigger names to fill their needs, they’ll also need to consider some of the smaller pieces; players who’s price tag isn’t among the elites, yet may provide production. Below is a list of a few guys that could do that for them:
Wide receiver Paul Richardson
This is the position with all the buzz the past few months, yet will garner the most attention in the coming months, also.
Mike Wallace may be gone, Jeremy Maclin hasn’t panned out so far and Breshad Perriman has more doubters than he does yards in his career.
Beyond that, Chris Moore and Michael Campanaro are the only guys to demonstrate anything for Baltimore.
Enter Paul Richardson, who after being picked in the second round in 2014, hasn’t produced as the Seahawks hoped he would.
However, there is reason to believe he could warrant a spot on Baltimore’s roster and receive significant snaps. His whole career, he has played in a pretty bizarre offense that doesn’t rely too much on traditional receiver play, and counts on pass catchers to extend along with Russell Wilson.
As much as his numbers don’t indicate legit production, those who have watched the Seahawks in big games the past few years noticed Richardson’s big play ability. From his acrobatic catches to the fact that he grabbed six touchdowns while averaging 16 yards per catch last season, the Ravens would be wise to try and bring him in on a cap friendly contract if possible.
Wide receiver Dontrelle Inman
After what looked like a breakout year in San Diego in 2016, it looks like Inman may have left his confidence in the former NFL city. The Bears traded for Dontrelle, bringing much needed help for the young Mitchell Trubisky. He produced 334 yards and a touchdown, and while that stat line doesn’t jump off of the screen, it was a difficult position to be put in for the former CFL standout.
Playing with any rookie quarterback can be tough on a receiver, let alone one they don’t get time to mesh with, and especially not one stuck his first year under the tutelage of John Fox. If he came to Baltimore, he wouldn’t be the top answer for the passing games’ woes, but he definitely could be a good auxiliary option behind some bigger investments to help Joe Flacco get his career back on track.
Tight end Luke Willson
Much like actor Luke Wilson isn’t as widely recognized as his brother Owen, Luke Willson of the Seattle Seahawks has spent the past few years playing second fiddle to the highly touted Jimmy Graham. While he hasn’t shown he can be much more than a role player, the Ravens need more reliability and youth at the position than they currently have.
Willson has been pretty healthy in his five year career, and has never been popped for PED usage, something that some players for the Ravens have had issues with at this position for the past few years. He also just turned 28, which is a bonus for a team that just completed a majority of it’s passes to a 37-year old.
He isn’t nearly as big of a name as Graham (who has been mentioned as a possible target for Baltimore), but on a cheap contract, he may bring them stability at tight end with solid blocking and some presence in the red zone after catching four touchdowns in 2017.