A sentiment echoed many times before, held true in Thursday night’s matchup with the visiting Tennessee Titans. The Baltimore Ravens are in desperate need of a receiver.
After a quiet performance from training camp standout Jaylon Moore, a first-half knee injury to former foruth-round pick Tylan Wallace and a lingering soft-tissue injury to presumptive starting receiver James Proche II leaves the Ravens in an all-too-familiar receiverless situation.
It has been rumored since the end of last season, and particularly following the trade of Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the Arizona Cardinals, that the Ravens would dip their toes into the free agent receiver market and nab an established veteran to help star quarterback Lamar Jackson move the ball downfield. The Ravens have balked at this notion, and Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman went so far as to say he will make note of any reporter throwing shade at his group, saying, “make it public...we will just pin it up on the wall”.
While I didn’t wake up this morning wishing to be on Roman’s hit list, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec so too points out the Ravens and Roman may have no other choice now but to bring in a free agent receiver.
Tylan Wallace could miss time w/knee sprain. James Proche could miss few wks w/soft-tissue injury. UDFAs Slade Bolden and Bailey Gaither dealing w/injuries and didn't play tonight.— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) August 12, 2022
It's surprising Ravens haven't added vet WR. They may have no choice now.
Along with the current absences, both wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay missed time earlier in training camp due to injury.
While most of the injuries are minor and the corps should be ready for Week 1, the Ravens need bodies to practice. Moreover, a veteran presence in the receiver room would be added insurance should this flare of injuries remerge during the regular season.
One receiver did emerge from the pack against the Titans and made a strong case for the 53-man roster. Undrafted rookie Shemar Bridges led the team with four receptions for 63 yards, and a leaping touchdown grab which extended the lead and sealed the Ravens 21st consecutive preseason victory. If Bridges continues this effort he could be in line for legitimate role in a now depleted Ravens receiver room.
.@_SNOOP1 ➡️ @ShemarBridges17 for 6 ❗️❗️— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 12, 2022
Tune in on WBAL pic.twitter.com/5dOLcpdXUr
While Bridges’ performance was a welcome sign for the team, it is not enough. A silver lining for the purple and black is that now the Ravens can bring in a veteran receiver while still showing faith in their current group.
Some veteran names still on the free agent market include; Odell Beckham Jr., Will Fuller, Emmanuel Sanders, Cole Beasley and T.Y. Hilton.
Bringing in a veteran receiver is not a new practice for Baltimore, in fact it seems to be a yearly tradition as late addition free agents in the past include Sammy Watkins, Dez Bryant, and Jeremy Maclin.
At this juncture in the season with still a month to go until Week 1 kicks off against the New York Jets, the signing of a free agent receiver looks all but certain. The question now is who will they sign, and just how much juice will they have left in the tank?