The Ravens confirmed Wednesday that they have reached agreements with wide receivers John Brown and Ryan Grant. They also released veteran wideout Jeremy Maclin, Otherwise, it was a relatively quiet first “official” day of free agency for the team.
There’s still plenty to discuss:
1) I’ve written several times that the Ravens viewed a field-stretching tight end as every bit of a need as a wide receiver. That’s why they pursued both Jimmy Graham and Trey Burton aggressively in free agency. After missing out on both, their best options now appear to be recently released Eric Ebron, a player they really liked out of the 2014 draft, or former Cincinnati Bengal Tyler Eifert.
2) As for Eifert, unless it’s a really inexpensive, incentive-laden deal, his injury history has to give the Ravens pause. He’s played in just 24 games over the past four seasons, including only 10 in the past two years. The Ravens have been dogged by injuries at tight end over the years, so the last thing they need is another target on injured reserve.
3) The four-year, $29 million deal given to Grant still seems extreme two days later. That’s hard to dispute. It also falls in line with a few of the deals other second- or third-tier receiver options got this week. Albert Wilson, who has never had more than 45 catches or 600 receiving yards in a season, will receive $8 million per year from the Miami Dolphins. Paul Richardson, who also has never had more than 45 catches in a season, will get $8 million per year from the Washington Redskins. It might not make Ravens fans feel any better, but the wide receiver market went off the rails this week.
4) Speaking of receivers, that there hasn’t been much buzz on Mike Wallace this week shouldn’t be taken as a sign that there isn’t interest. Some agents and teams, and the Ravens fall into this category, work hard to keep negotiations out of the media. Still, I’ve been a bit surprised there hasn’t been more talk about him. Aside from Jordy Nelson, I think Wallace is the best receiver still available.
5) The Ravens are interested in Nelson, who reportedly spent much of Wednesday with the Oakland Raiders and has visits lined up with the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora wrote that Nelson could visit the Ravens after the first three stops. Given that beginning lineup, I’m not sure I like Nelson’s chances of making it to Baltimore.
6) As of Wednesday afternoon, I was told it was still unlikely that the Ravens would be able to re-sign center Ryan Jensen, who is in Tampa Bay visiting with the Buccaneers. Again, I wouldn’t rule out, but it seems that the Ravens feel they have a viable and cheap replacement in Matt Skura and they just need to put the money and cap space toward other needs.
7) It will be interesting to see whether the Ravens move quickly on a veteran backup quarterback for Joe Flacco because the list of available signal callers is getting thin. Eleven quarterbacks have agreed to deals this week, including projected backups such as Mike Glennon, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tom Savage and Chase Daniel. The path of least resistance for the Ravens would be just re-signing Ryan Mallett on a cheap deal and then waiting to see whether they can draft a quarterback. If they want to upgrade over Mallett with a veteran backup, they’ll have to do it soon.
8) The Ravens have yet to have one of their 10 free agents sign elsewhere, meaning they have some ground to make up if they want to get a compensatory selection or two in next year’s draft. I know fans are tired of hearing about it, but it absolutely enters the Ravens’ thinking this time of year. And if the Ravens sign another true outside unrestricted free agent, it’s going to be very tough for them to recoup a comp pick next year. You might not care about that, but the Ravens surely do.
9) Maclin obviously didn’t work out, but it’s amusing that some of the same people who were waiting with bated breath for the Ravens to sign him last summer are the ones now trashing the team for adding an older receiver. I’ve gotten a lot of “I told you so’s” about Maclin this week when I seem to recall fans wildly praising the signing last year.
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10) Sure, recently released Tyrann Mathieu would help the Ravens, but they already have so much money invested in their starting safety tandem that adding another high-priced safety isn’t feasible.