More than a week since free agency officially began, the Ravens still haven’t signed a wide receiver. But not for a lack of trying.
T.Y. Hilton, who on Wednesday agreed to return to the Indianapolis Colts on a one-year deal worth $8 million guaranteed and up to $10 million overall, acknowledged Thursday on “The Pat McAfee Show” that the Ravens made a “great push at the end.”
The Ravens offered Hilton a three-year deal worth $16 million, according to Russell Street Report, but Hilton was eager to sign a shorter-term contract and remain in Indianapolis, where he’s played his entire career.
Hilton, who turns 32 in November, had 56 catches for 762 yards and five touchdowns in 15 games last season for the Colts. But at 5 feet 10, he’s not the big-bodied receiver the Ravens need, and his durability and explosiveness have fallen off in recent years. Over the past two seasons, he’s averaged just 12.5 yards per catch.
The Ravens, eager to upgrade their passing attack before what could be quarterback Lamar Jackson’s final season on a team-friendly rookie contract, have now whiffed at least twice on potential high-impact signings at wide receiver this offseason. JuJu Smith-Schuster re-signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers on a one-year, $8 million deal despite a reported $9 million offer, with another $4 million available in incentives, from the Ravens. The Kansas City Chiefs reportedly offered a similarly incentive-laden deal but were rejected.
There’s few other notable free agents available who could join wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II in Baltimore next season. Sammy Watkins visited Baltimore on Tuesday before heading to Indianapolis on Wednesday, and he could reunite with Ravens offensive coordinator and former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman, under whom he had his best NFL season, in 2015. Antonio Brown is also unsigned, but the Ravens did not show interest in him last season.
However they proceed, the Ravens are expected to take a wide receiver in the early rounds of next month’s draft, though they also have needs at edge rusher and interior offensive line.