The Baltimore Ravens enter the 2023 offseason with numerous needs on both sides of the ball. Free agency is one avenue for them to address them, including at the wide receiver position — where the Ravens will undoubtedly be in the market for new talent.
Let’s take a look at one potential player they could target in free agency — wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster from the Kansas City Chiefs.
Age: 26 years old
Experience: 6 seasons
2022 stats: (16 games) 78 receptions on 101 targets, 933 receiving yards, 12.0 yards per catch, three touchdowns
Spotrac Value: 4 years, $58.6 million ($14.6 million annual average)
In their continued search for wide receiver help this offseason, the Ravens could look to target a familiar face in JuJu Smith-Schuster. Smith-Schuster is a familiar face not only because the Ravens played against him multiple times a year for six straight seasons, but also because they nearly signed him in free agency last spring.
Smith-Schuster turned down an offer from the Ravens to instead sign a one-year contract with the Chiefs in March 2022. The Ravens offered the 26-year-old more money than Kansas City but nevertheless he chose the latter. In 2023, Smith-Schuster recorded the second-most receiving yards of his career and was a key member of a Super Bowl offense.
The former Pittsburgh Steeler caught 78 of 101 targets for 933 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns. He more closely resembled the 2017 and 2018 version of himself after a couple of down seasons on his way out of Pittsburgh. A significant upgrade at quarterback and overall offensive system certainly played a role in that.
Nevertheless, Smith-Schuster was the second-leading receiver on the Chiefs’ offense behind Travis Kelce. In the Super Bowl, his seven receptions led all Kansas City players and he caught a number of key receptions in the fourth quarter.
For the season as a whole, 465 of Smith-Schuster’s total receiving yards came after the catch. He averaged 6.0 YAC per reception, which was the best mark of his career.
With only one season of over 1,000 receiving yards to his name, Smith-Schuster isn’t a huge deep threat or dynamic downfield pass-catcher. Additionally, he’s caught only three touchdowns in 21 games over the past two seasons. His scoring has dipped, as he previously caught 26 touchdowns combined during his first four seasons.
What Smith-Schuster is, though, is a physical possession receiver with a career catch rate of 70%. His catch rate of 77.2% this past season was the highest mark of his career. In addition, he brings a lot to the table in the run game as a reliable blocker.
He could be a solid scheme fit alongside Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman in the Ravens’ offense. Baltimore was interested in his services last free agency cycle and it wouldn’t be surprising if they were again a few weeks from now.
Should the Ravens target JuJu Smith-Schuster in free agency?
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