The new league year officially opened up last week and less than a full week into unrestricted free agency, the open market has been picked clean of the top tier talent. However, now that the frenzy has subsided, there are still veteran players at some of the Baltimore Ravens’ positions of need that are available and could be had on affordable deals.
Below is a list of players that fit the Ravens or could at least come in to provide depth and fill a defined role at wide receiver, where they are in need of an upgrade and a veteran presence:
Sammy Watkins – 2020 team: Kansas City Chiefs, 2020 stats: 37 catches, 421 yards, and 2 TDs.
The former first-round pick has battled injuries throughout his career. While he shouldn’t be counted on to play a full 16 game regular season slate, he has proven to be a proficient compliment in the passing game who shows up in the crucial moments of big games. He is scheduled to visit Ravens’ team facility on Tuesday. Given their history of not letting coveted free agents leave the building without a deal, a potential signing could be imminent.
Antonio Brown – 2020 team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2020 stats: 45 catches, 483 yards, 4 TDs.
The seven-time Pro Bowler has been linked to the Ravens since he was released by the Las Vegas Raiders in September of 2019. While Brown has expressed his desire to play with his cousin and Ravens’ third-year receiver Marquise Hollywood Brown, the team has yet to show any serious mutual interest.
However, that could be subject to change. After serving his eight-game suspension, Brown showed improved maturity and humility and was a key contributor to the Buccaneers championship run last season. Off-field issues aside, he is one of the best wide receivers in league history and is only two years removed from a 1,200 plus yard and 15 touchdown season. With a full offseason and renewed mindset, perhaps he could recapture some of his former glory.
T.Y. Hilton – 2020 team: Indianapolis Colts, 2020 stats: 56 catches, 762 yards, 5 TDs.
The four-time Pro Bowler has been a popular consolation prize pick for the Ravens by many fans and media pundits that cover the team. However, the Colts have expressed their intentions to bring back the nine-year veteran at some point this offseason. According to multiple reports that time is likely on the horizon so the likelihood of him defecting to Baltimore isn’t high.
He can still stretch the field vertically at 31-years-old as evidenced by his 13.6 yards per catch last season. After being known almost exclusively as a deep threat, Hilton has become a much more refined route runner over the course of his career.
Larry Fitzgerald – 2020 team: Arizona Cardinals, 2020 stats: 54 receptions, 409 yards, 1 TD.
With no ‘true no. 1’ wide receiver candidate left on the open market; the Ravens now need to find a complementary piece at the position ahead of the draft that can provide a strong veteran presence in their young position group and be a solid contributor as well.
At this stage of his illustrious Hall of Fame career, that description explains Fitzgerald perfectly. The 11-time Pro Bowler isn’t the same dynamic talent that he once was but he is still a strong downfield blocker in the run game, a precise and technically sound route runner, and possesses arguably the surest hands in NFL history.
There’s no telling whether the 37-year-old still wants to continue his playing career. However, perhaps he could be convinced to sign a one-year deal with a team like the Ravens who could give him his best shot at winning a championship since he and the 2008 Cardinals came up short against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl 43.