What are the solutions at wide receiver and cornerback/secondary?
These are the Ravens’ two biggest needs by their own admission, but a shrinking market and a lack of salary cap space are again problematic.
Over the past three seasons, the Ravens ranked last in the NFL in receiving yards by wide receivers by a significant margin. On defense, they gave up the seventh-most passing yards per game last season and produced only four interceptions from the cornerback position, with three of those by Marlon Humphrey.
Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, who recently visited with the Ravens, according to multiple reports, would be a much-needed addition. The 26-year-old graded out as the league’s fifth-best shutdown corner with the Las Vegas Raiders last season, per the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, but he might be expensive with a projected annual value at $10.8 million, per Spotrac. That would likely require some restructuring of other players’ contracts to fit him under the cap.
On offense, the addition of Agholor could help. The 6-foot, 198-pound speedster gives Jackson a viable deep threat when healthy, but he’s caught more than 48 passes in a season only twice in eight years and has only two seasons in which he’s caught more than four touchdown passes.
Translation: They’ll continue to address these needs, but with just five draft picks, a lack of cap space and dwindling options in the free agent market, there are a lot of questions and not a lot of answers for Baltimore.
Ravens reportedly signing WR Nelson Agholor to one-year deal - Jonas Shaffer
With the injury struggles of 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman and the inconsistency of fellow starter Devin Duvernay, the Ravens entered the offseason expected to address their long-suffering wide receiver position. At his season-ending news conference in January, Harbaugh said the group was due for an overhaul.
Limited salary cap space has made a renovation difficult. Agholor is so far the Ravens’ most notable change. Demarcus Robinson, the team’s most productive wide receiver last year, is a free agent. Duvernay, a potential salary cap casualty, remains on the roster and, like Bateman, is expected to be ready for training camp; they’re both recovering from season-ending foot injuries. Tylan Wallace and James Proche II are also under contract.
Agholor has deep-threat ability but has struggled with ball security over his career, having dropped at least 10% of his catchable passes in four seasons, including last year, according to PFF.
The Start of Wide Receiver Improvement - Ryan Mink
Agholor didn’t pan out in New England the past two seasons, but he’s still in his prime (29) and not far removed from a 2020 campaign when he posted 896 yards, eight touchdowns and the second-best yards per catch (18.7) in the league. The key is unlocking that potential again.
Calais Campbell visiting the Falcons and Jaguars this week confirms he’s not just waiting to see how things shake out in Baltimore. He’s actively shopping. Campbell’s tweet to Josina Anderson saying “everything happens for a reason” did not sound like a player who is anticipating a return to the Ravens.
Bringing Campbell back, as the Ravens made clear they’re open to, would be ideal. However, wide receiver and cornerback are far bigger needs. Baltimore has young defensive linemen ready for more opportunities, specifically Travis Jones. Last year’s third-round pick has major potential. The loss of Campbell’s leadership stings though.
While the Ravens haven’t made a big splash in free agency, the players they kept will play critical roles, and a major hope for improving next season is that they won’t have so many players coming off major injuries. The returning running back trio is a prime example.
2023 NFL Free Agency: Every NFL team’s biggest loss - Brad Spielberger
Powers was one of the big winners in free agency, signing a massive four-year, $52 million contract with the Denver Broncos that had almost as much guaranteed money as any other free-agent guard received in total contract value this offseason. Powers was an above-average to good pass blocker through his first three seasons, and he earned an 86.5 grade in that facet in 2022 at just the right time.
2023 Ravens Draft Watch: Deonte Banks - Joe Serpico
NFL Player Comparison: Stephon Gilmore
Draft Projection: Late Day 1 — Early Day 2
Banks improved his draft stock with a terrific combine. He ran a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, and leaped out the stadium with a 42-inch vertical and an 11-foot, 4-inch broad jump. His size, speed and style of play have NFL teams intrigued, and he has cemented himself as a high draft choice.
The Ravens need to find a corner to man Peters’ vacant slot in the outside. Banks is one of several corners who could be available at No. 22 and fits the mold of the modern-day cornerback. John Harbaugh’s background is in the secondary and with some good coaching, Banks could become the next shutdown corner in the NFL.
PROJECTED TRADE WITH BALTIMORE RAVENS
Tennessee · WR · Junior
31. Baltimore Ravens
PROJECTED TRADE WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
South Carolina · CB · Junior (RS)
Veteran cornerback Marcus Peters, who started 13 games for Baltimore last season, remains a free agent. Smith’s size and aggressive play remind me of the three-time Pro Bowler.
86. Baltimore Ravens
North Carolina · WR · Junior
95. Baltimore Ravens
PROJECTED TRADE WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Eastern Michigan · OG · Senior (RS)
124. Baltimore Ravens
Oregon · Edge · Senior (RS)