So, where do the Baltimore Ravens stand on signing one of the NFL free agent wide receivers?
The franchise tag deadline has passed. The Chicago Bears franchise-tagged Allen Robinson and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise-tagged Chris Godwin. That leaves the two best NFL free agent wide receivers as Kenny Golladay and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
That leaves only a few options, but I want to talk about the one I find most likely.
Which of the NFL free agent wide receivers will the Ravens sign?
At one point, Sammy Watkins was one of the top draft prospects. He played well at Clemson. Watkins was originally drafted as the 4th overall pick of the 2014 draft by the Buffalo Bills. Through 86 career games, Sammy Watkins has 321 passes for 4,665 yards and 33 touchdowns. He will only be 28 this year, so he has a lot of good football ahead of him.
Watkins has always had the speed to get behind secondaries. He is also effective at making things happen after the catch. At 6’1″ and 211 lb., he is the ideal size for a physical receiver that can also do something with the ball in his hands.
So, what’s the catch?
Well, Watkins has dealt with minor injuries throughout his career. He has never missed an entire season, though. Most of his injuries have caused him to miss anywhere from 2-7 games. It is a risk, but he would definitely be an asset for the Ravens. He would bring a similar kind of toughness to Baltimore as Anquan Boldin and Steve Smith Sr. did. We need that kind of hard-nosed, physical player. He also has played in two Super Bowls, recently. So, he will bring a winning attitude with him to Baltimore.
Honestly, I feel that the Ravens may even be able to get him cheaper than $10 million per year. PFF has the Ravens estimated to sign Watkins for three years at $30 million (10M APY, $21 million guaranteed, $16.5 fully guaranteed at signing).
There is another reason besides the physicality of Watkins that makes him an ideal candidate for the Ravens. The Baltimore Ravens just brought in Keith Williams as their pass-game specialist. Williams has worked with many great receivers on their route running, such as Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Sammy Watkins. I believe that Sammy Watkins would love to be on the same team as the coach. It would be a great fit.
What other NFL free agent wide receivers make sense for the Ravens?
I don’t really see the Ravens spending more money than what it would take to get Sammy Watkins. At one point, I believed Marvin Jones was the best option. I do still feel that way, but the market got smaller with the use of franchise tags. I feel like Marvin Jones’ value may go up because of that. That leaves me with two veterans I think the Ravens may consider adding.
Look, I know he is getting up there in age, but he is the only WR in NFL history to get 7 Pro Bowls in a row to start his career. Even at 32, A.J. Green is as sure-handed as ever. He isn’t going to come in and make huge jar-dropping plays like he once did. But we don’t need that. Marquise Brown is that guy for us, but he needs someone on the other side to open things up for him.
Green can come in and be that physical, reliable guy for us. He can make those contested catches in the end zone. Or that hard to bring in, third-down grab on the sideline. And the thing is, Green can probably be signed on a one-year deal for like 6 million, while the Ravens develop some younger players. This may be more likely than the Sammy Watkins scenario.
Emmanuel Sanders was actually just released by the Saints. He is not the player he once was. This is another situation like with A.J. Green. Sanders is a veteran WR, who can make the catches consistently. His best years may be behind him, but he would be a good fit for a Ravens team trying to develop their young receivers. Even at 33, Sanders had 82 receptions for 726 and 5 touchdowns.
Which of the NFL free agent wide receivers do you think would best fit the Ravens? Let us know below!
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