Preston: Despite the talk, these are the same old Ravens

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome talked about adding new offensive skill-position players this offseason. We’re still waiting ...

And waiting ...

Hopefully, this isn’t another season of unfulfilled promises. After 2015, the Ravens said they were going to upgrade the offensive line, and that group was average at best the following year. Last year they kept telling everyone they were going to get better receivers and they ended up bringing in Jeremy Maclin, who had had 40 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns.

He had so much impact they will probably cut him this week.

So, there wasn’t great anticipation last week when other teams were making trades leading up to free agency, which officially begins Wednesday. The Seattle Seahawks parted ways with defensive end Michael Bennett and cornerback Richard Sherman. The New England Patriots traded with the Cleveland Browns for defensive lineman Danny Shelton, and the Browns also traded for Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

The last move ended all excitement about any possible Ravens involvement in a trade. I should have known better. They are the same old Ravens. Actually, they have become the Orioles.

They yap a lot about free agency but don’t make any deals until the last minute when they can sign bargain basement-type players. That scenario usually gets you within a game or two of the playoffs, but not into the postseason.

That’s why the Ravens needed a player like Landry. I am hoping they couldn’t get a deal done with him because he wanted $15 million to $16 million a year, not because they would have had to surrender a fourth round pick in 2018 and a seventh-rounder in 2019 the way the Browns did.

Two draft picks are worth it, especially considering the Ravens’ recent fortunes in selecting offensive skill-position players.

But if money and salary cap are the problems, then how will the Ravens be able to sign unrestricted free-agent receivers such as the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Allen Robinson, Los Angeles Rams Sammy Watkins and Seattle Seahawks tight end Jimmy Graham? I’m waiting for answers and results. It’s the waiting game again …

The Jaguars were a few minutes away from a Super Bowl appearance, so the assumption here is that they’re going to offer Robinson a great deal. Graham played five years in New Orleans before going to Seattle, so the Saints need a tight end and will be the front-runner in signing Graham to reunite with quarterback Drew Brees.

As for Watkins and the rest of the so-called free agents, they provide little buzz for an organization that needs one at this time. Bringing Steve Smith Sr. and Anquan Boldin out of retirement would create more excitement.

The Ravens have had one of the worst offenses in the NFL since Gary Kubiak left as offensive coordinator after the 2014 season. Attendance fell off last year, and part of the problem is that the Ravens don’t have any marquee players.

If they want to attract a big-name free agent to Baltimore, what is their selling point? A good owner and great facilities can only do so much. They’ve got an iconic general manager who won’t be in that position after this season, a quarterback with declining skills, a running back who has to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke and a coach [John Harbaugh] who is on the hot seat.

It’s not exactly a warm-and-fuzzy situation here in Baltimore.

In New England and Pittsburgh, the front offices are loading up for another serious title run. Seattle appears to be going with a youth movement, and Green Bay has made several changes in the coaching staff and front office.

Even San Francisco and dreaded Cleveland appear to have money and are building for the future.

But in Baltimore, the Ravens remain status quo.

We’re still waiting for that change.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

Become a subscriber today to support sports commentary like this. Start getting full access to our signature journalism for just 99 cents for the first four weeks.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
68°