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Ravens News 4/6: WR Breakdown and more

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NFL: Super Bowl LVI-Los Angeles Rams at Cincinnati Bengals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens Decision Makers Break Down Wide Receivers in Draft - Clifton Brown

Flowers is the fastest of the group, with breakaway speed comparable to former Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown. Perhaps the biggest concern with Flowers is his 5-foot-9 stature, but Hortiz said Flowers has the versatility to play both outside and in the slot.

“Zay, he plays inside and out for B.C., and you see the same ability coming up to this level,” Hortiz said. ”He’s strong, even though he’s not big, and certainly, he can fly. He can put pressure on a defense quickly. And he’s got outstanding hands and [trackability], so he plays bigger than his size overall, I’d say.”

Hortiz said Johnston’s ability and production as a receiver justifies his first-round grade, despite his drops in college.

“When you see a receiver drop balls, you see how they’re doing it,” Hortiz said. “Is it tracking? Is it a hand placement issue? Is it just bad hands? Sometimes it’s just [that] he’s got his hands in the wrong spot? You just watch him make outstanding catches on film. You see his ability to adjust, go up and high point the ball, but he does drop some balls.

“Most receivers do drop a ball or two, though, But he’s a big, fast, physical guy. Obviously, [he] has playmaking ability outside.”

Jameis Winston: Ravens Getting ‘Detailed, Specific, Confident Coordinator’ In Todd Monken - Judith Altneu

“The Ravens are getting a detailed, specific, confident coordinator and that’s what you need in this league,” Winston said on Glenn Clark Radio March 30. “You can’t have a coordinator that’s allowing the defense to dictate the ballgame. You have to have coordinators that are forward thinkers that are always looking for new ways to design and create concepts and plays to create complexity in the offense and to attack the defense.”

Aside from Tampa Bay, Monken worked for the Jacksonville Jaguars as the wide receivers coach from 2007-2010 and was the offensive coordinator for the Cleveland Browns in 2019. Monken most recently worked at Georgia as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, helping guide the Bulldogs to back-to-back national championships.

“Todd coaches like he plays a lot of football so he understands the ins and outs of what a player is looking forward to, what a player is expecting,” Winston said. “… He uses his strengths to basically put players in great situations and make sure his offense is running effectively.”

Agent’s Take: Structuring a Lamar Jackson offer sheet that the Ravens could refuse to take - Joel Corry

There is a way to structure an offer sheet which should comply with the CBA that might deter Baltimore from matching. The concept would be a one-year offer sheet with 2024 through 2027 contract years automatically voiding on the last day of the 2023 league year. All of the offer sheet amount, except Jackson’s $1.08 million league minimum base salary, would be a signing bonus payable in a lump sum within 15 days. There would also be a no-trade clause.

The four voiding/dummy years would be necessary to keep the 2023 cap hit low for the team extending the offer sheet since cap room is becoming a premium for most teams. Putting the void date as the last day of the 2023 league year is critical. Jackson won’t be able to be franchised in 2024 because voiding occurs after the deadline to designate franchise players, which is eight days before the start of the league year.

The problem is Jackson would test free agency in 2024 since a second straight franchise tag wouldn’t be an option given the voiding date if his tweet about wanting out of Baltimore is taken at face value.

The Ravens would only be eligible for a third-round compensatory pick at best in 2025 with Jackson leaving in free agency next March. His parting gift to the Ravens would be $35.6 million in 2024 dead money, a salary cap charge for a player no longer on a team’s roster, because of the bonus proration with the four dummy years.

Teddy Bridgewater? Carson Wentz? Ravens need contingency plan if Lamar Jackson sits out - Jamison Hensley

Without Jackson, the Ravens control the contractual rights of two quarterbacks: restricted free agent Tyler Huntley and second-year reserve Anthony Brown. Baltimore didn’t give Huntley a vote of confidence when the team gave him the right of first refusal tender, which means the Ravens wouldn’t receive any compensation for Huntley if he signs an offer sheet and they don’t match. They could have applied the second-round tender, which would have virtually guaranteed his return. In Huntley’s last five starts in the regular season, Baltimore struggled offensively, scoring a total of five touchdowns.

Sign a current free agent: Bridgewater is the best remaining option from a lackluster free agent class. There are five quarterbacks available who have a career winning record (minimum 20 starts): Bridgewater (33-32), Wentz (46-45-1), Matt Ryan (124-109-1), Joe Flacco (99-81) and Cam Newton (75-68-1).

At the age of 30, Bridgewater battled injuries last season with the Miami Dolphins, throwing four touchdown passes and four interceptions. But he has shown the ability to win games in the NFL when paired with a strong defense.

The Ravens would likely wait to sign any quarterback until after May 1, which is when free agent additions don’t count against a team’s compensatory picks. Baltimore is in line to get a fourth-round comp pick in 2024 after losing guard Ben Powers to the Denver Broncos.

2023 NFL Draft: Regrading every first-round QB pick over the last 15 years, from Trevor Lawrence to Joe Flacco - Cody Benjamin



Lamar Jackson Ravens

Home run

Jackson is one of the NFL’s defining talents; he hasn’t been the most durable, and he’s struggled in brief playoff efforts, but his world-class speed has kept Baltimore afloat, even as the team has failed to surround him with steady pass catchers.



Joe Flacco Ravens

Home run

Flacco gets more ridicule for being even more of a throwback pocket passer, ultimately settling into an ultra-conservative approach, but his big arm was instrumental in the Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl run and he still captained six different playoff runs over 11 seasons in Baltimore.

Where will Odell Beckham Jr. play in 2023? Pros, cons with the Jets, Ravens and Rams - Mike Jones

Baltimore Ravens

The Ravens also feature uncertainty at the quarterback position as negotiations remain ongoing with Lamar Jackson. The quarterback has yet to agree to a long-term deal in lieu of the franchise tag the Ravens placed on him last month. For now, coach John Harbaugh is operating as if Jackson will remain in Baltimore, and improving the Ravens’ receiving unit ranks high on the priority list. If healthy, Beckham could certainly help in this area. He also would benefit from a paring with tight end Mark Andrews — Jackson’s favorite target. But the biggest question involves durability and whether Beckham could make it through an entire season unscathed and position the Ravens for a deep postseason run.

From Beckham’s standpoint, the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the Ravens and Jackson (the quarterback requested a trade last month, but the Ravens want to hang on to him and no teams have stepped in with an offer) could make the Jets or Rams a more attractive option.