The Baltimore Ravens decided to go outside the box when it comes to the wide receiver market. The team decided to look at the restricted free agents available. After Baltimore signed John Brown and Michael Crabtree, they brought in restricted free agents Cameron Meredith and Willie Snead for visits. Two young players, at 25-years old, that have produced for the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints, but thanks to their age, have a lot of room to grow.
Reports came out from the Chicago Tribune’s Brad Biggs that Baltimore was considering giving Meredith an offer sheet, but the Saints beat them to the punch on Friday afternoon. New Orleans and Meredith agreed to a 2-year deal worth up to $9.6 million plus incentives with $5.4 million in guarantees. Chicago now has five days to match the offer or he will join the Saints. The Bears have already matched an offer this season with Kyle Fuller when he signed with the Green Bay Packers. The interesting thing in all of this is the team that gave Meredith the contract, Willie Snead’s Saints.
Snead was recently brought back for a workout with the Ravens, along with unrestricted free agent Michael Floyd, which could be an indicator that the Ravens like him more than Meredith. The Saints gave Snead a low tender at $1.9 million and with the Meredith signing, this probably leads to Snead not being back in New Orleans. That is of course, if Chicago doesn’t match the offer. If they don’t, Meredith will take over the slot role, leaving Snead as the odd man out.
With the Ravens recently mentioning the possibility of bringing in a wide receiver before the NFL Draft in Dallas, do the Ravens immediately pounce on Snead with an offer? Knowing full well the Saints probably won’t match it now that they would have Meredith on board. If you are Ozzie Newsome, you have to hope the Bears let this go, leaving Snead there for the taking to provide a young and fast player out of the slot and to move the chains for quarterback Joe Flacco and the offense.
Of course there is still the possibility the Bears do indeed match the offer, bringing Meredith back to Chicago and teaming him with new free agent acquisitions Taylor Gabriel, Allen Robinson, and tight end Trey Burton. If that happens, while the Ravens could still go after Snead, New Orleans could very well match it and bring him back to the fold. Leaving the Ravens with none of the two 25-year old upstarts, which would be disheartening for the front office in their efforts to reconstruct the wide receiver room.
Meredith’s signing adds an interesting wrinkle to this off-season as we head closer to draft day. Especially for a Ravens team still searching for help at wide receiver and tight end. Not only did they bring in Floyd for a workout, they had unrestricted free agent wide receiver Eric Decker in for a visit on Thursday. The Ravens are not the only one who’ve got to be interested in what happens with Meredith, as Snead is also watching this very closely to see what the Bears do in the coming days as he prepares to find a home for the 2018 season.