The Ravens can officially cross Jarvis Landry off their offseason wish list.
The Miami Dolphins announced Tuesday night that they have placed the franchise tag on the productive wide receiver, keeping Landry off the free-agent market and providing one less option for the wideout-needy Ravens.
There, of course, were no guarantees the Ravens would’ve been in the running for Landry even if he hit the open market March 12. With an NFL-record 400 catches over his first four seasons to go along with 23 touchdowns and in a market short of quality receivers, Landry would’ve been able to name his price. There were reports he was seeking in excess of $14 million per year. It’s tough to imagine that the cash-strapped Ravens would’ve been able to compete on that level.
However, the news, which was playfully jeered on Twitter by Ravens safeties Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson, who had started recruiting Landry, reaffirms how difficult it will be for the Ravens to make significant upgrades at the top of their receiving corps.
Another reminder could come in the coming days when/if the other top two pending free-agent receivers, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Allen Robinson and the Los Angeles Rams’ Sammy Watkins, get the franchise tags. ESPN has reported that both will likely be tagged if they can’t reach long-term deals with their respective teams.
What will that leave for the Ravens, who will likely have to retool their entire receiving group with Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro hitting free agency and Jeremy Maclin being a potential salary-cap casualty?
Not a lot in terms of top-end talent.
Wallace, one of Joe Flacco’s top targets the past two years, would immediately become one of the top free-agent receivers available and his price tag could go up as a result. Beyond Wallace, there is Jacksonville’s Marqise Lee, the Seattle Seahawks’ Paul Richardson, Washington Redskins’ Terrelle Pryor, Buffalo Bills’ Jordan Matthews, Arizona Cardinals’ John Brown and Indianapolis Colts’ Donte Moncrief.
Several veteran receivers will likely be salary cap casualties in the days ahead, but the current free-agent wide receiver group isn’t exactly inspiring.
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Lee, 28, has some upside, but he’s missed 11 games over his first four NFL seasons and he’s never had more than three touchdown receptions or 65 catches in a season. He’s also mostly been the Jaguars’ No. 3 receiver.
Richardson, 25, had 44 catches for 703 yards and six touchdown receptions in 2017, but he had only 51 catches and two scores over his first three NFL seasons.
Pryor, a converted quarterback, curiously settled for a one-year deal last offseason, and the 28-year-old was a nonfactor for the Redskins, catching just 20 passes in nine games.
Matthews, 25, also made little impact in his one season with the Bills as he caught just 25 balls for 282 yards and one touchdown, and was limited to 10 games.
Now 27 years old, Brown has flashed at times, but he’s missed seven games over the past two seasons and he has only 60 catches during that span.
And then there’s Moncrief, 24, who has missed 11 games over the past two years and is coming off a 26-catch season.
None of their additions would constitute the splash that Ravens officials have talked about making on offense this offseason. However, Landry getting franchised is the latest evidence that there are factors beyond the Ravens’ control.