Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome is interested in trading for Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry, but the combination of paying a high salary and giving up a high draft pick probably makes him hesitant to do a deal.
But the Ravens need to be aggressive. If they can get Landry for a fourth- or even third-round selection and a four-year contract worth $50 million-52 million, then the Ravens should acquire him.
Landry, 25, is big news and big trade bait around the NFL. The Dolphins have agreed to tender him with the franchise tag, which will pay him $16.2 million next season. It’s been reported that Landry no longer wants to be in Miami and that the Dolphins don’t want him in Miami, either.
So, he’s on the market. Other teams reported to have interest are the Cleveland Browns, San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. And like those teams, the Ravens need to seriously upgrade their receiver corps.
Newsome made that assessment again last week at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. So, if they overpay a little, it’s not a big deal, especially considering their previous failures to develop a No. 1 receiver in the draft.
The Ravens need to be careful. They want to improve, but not if it sets the organization back for years with a costly contract. But Landry would make the Ravens better. In four seasons, he has been to three Pro Bowls and has 400 receptions for 4,038 yards and 22 touchdowns.
This guy has attitude, sometimes too much of it. He is as fiery as Steve Smith Sr. and as nasty as Anquan Boldin. He’ll run over a linebacker as easily as he’ll take on a defensive back, or balk at his offensive coordinator as easily as an official.
Is Landry a top-notch wide receiver?
No, certainly not in the class with his best friend, New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., or the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown or the Cincinnati Bengals’ A.J. Green, each of whom will make over $15 million next season. All of those guys can blow by cornerbacks and open up a defense. Landry is 5 feet 11 and has spent a lot of time in the slot. He’s averaged only about 10 yards a catch but that’s partially because of scheme and the quarterbacks in Miami.
But when it comes to red-zone production or extending drives, few have done it better recently than Landry.
The Ravens need to go after him hard. Their failures in developing a top-notch receiver are starting to haunt this organization. Alabama’s Calvin Ridley, college football’s top receiver, might not be available when the Ravens select at No. 16, and there are some experts who say he isn’t worthy of a top-20 pick.
The Ravens don’t need to add another veteran receiver on the downside of his career. Derrick Mason and Smith worked out well, but Mike Wallace was really only a No. 2 receiver and Jeremy Maclin was a major disappointment.
And now former Raven Torrey Smith and Tavon Austin are surfacing as possible receivers for the Ravens to sign.
The Ravens need to find a receiver in his prime. This is a critical time for this organization. The Ravens haven’t been to the playoffs for three straight years and four out of the past five.
In the past two years, they have been only two plays away from the postseason, and after each season, there have been demands to supply quarterback Joe Flacco with a big-time wide receiver.
The Ravens reportedly are close to the salary cap, but there are ways to circumvent the cap. It just requires some creativity. That’s what the Ravens need now in dealing with Landry.
They need to be aggressive and tell Landry how far the 49ers, Browns and Bears are from being a contender and how the Ravens are possibly one player away.
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That player could be Landry.