With the lack of a highly-productive wide receiver continuing to plague the Ravens, the second part of this series will discuss free agency options for bolstering the position and elevating the offense.
As Mike Wallace enters free agency, the Ravens will have to decide if they want to keep him in Baltimore. In 2017, Wallace hauled in 20 fewer receptions for 269 less yards compared to his first season with the Ravens. At 31 years old and entering his 10th year in the league, it may be time for the Ravens to look towards a younger, more productive player.
Jaguars wide receiver, Allen Robinson, is ranked fifth in the NFL’s top 101 free agents. Robinson went down in Week 1 of the 2017 and will be entering the free agent market coming off a torn ACL. Robinson is hoping to capitalize on the success of his first three seasons in the league, and will command more than his four year $3.5 million deal with Jacksonville. While Robinson is still in the prime of his career with an explosive skill set and big play potential, his ACL is a gamble than may be too much for his market price.
In his four year career, Sammy Watkins has averaged over 15 yards per catch. Last season with the Rams, Watkins had eight touchdowns, good for the second highest total of his career. A top five pick out of Clemson, Watkins has become a fast rising star in the league. While fans across the league are dreaming of their QB connecting with Sammy in the end zone next season, he is a prime candidate for the franchise tag. Los Angeles has until March 6th at 4 pm EST to tag him.
Terrelle Pryor, while a less flashy option, is likely a more affordable free agency pick up with significant upside. A former Ohio State quarterback turned NFL receiver, Pryor has the QB mindset with a receiver’s athletic ability. If signed, the Ravens would hope to see Pryor recreate his success with Browns back in 2016, when he was targeted 140 times and had over 1,000 yards receiving.
With only about $9.6 million in cap space, Baltimore is 28th in the league for cap space. The rest of the division ranks 1st (Cleveland Browns), 12th (Cincinnati Bengals) and 29th (Pittsburgh Steelers). Still considering re-signing unrestricted free agent center Ryan Jensen, the free agency market is the sexy option for receivers that may be slightly out of reach for the cash strapped Ravens.