The Ravens haven’t officially confirmed that they’ve declined wide receiver Breshad Perriman’s fifth-year option for 2019, but that’s been the expectation all along. If they picked it up, Perriman would be in line to make over $9 million in 2019. That’s a nonstarter for a player who was a healthy inactive in four of the final seven games last year and has had multiple injury problems.
What isn’t a formality is what the Ravens decide to do with Perriman, who is still under contract with the team through 2018, in mid-July and/or early September. As ESPN reported, Perriman has an approximate $650,000 roster bonus if he’s still on the team on the third day of training camp in mid-July. That doesn’t sound like much for an NFL team, but if the Ravens’ younger receivers make progress through organized team activities and minicamps, and if it’s increasingly obvious Perriman won’t make the team, why pay him that bonus?
It makes little sense to cut Perriman now. Sure, it would create about $1.5 million in salary cap room, but the Ravens have enough space to pay their rookies. They don’t really have any gaping holes on their roster that they need to throw money at, and there’s not much quality help still available on the free-agent market anyway.
Monitor him closely through the offseason workout program. See how he does in three weeks of organized team activities. Watch him at the mandatory minicamp. I know we’re talking about practice, to quote Allen Iverson, but that’s all you’ll have to go off of until August. Maybe he’ll string together a few good practices and start getting his confidence back. Maybe something will click. Perriman probably made more plays than anyone else during OTAs last year. Then he hurt his hamstring early in training camp and wasn’t heard from much again. It’s not as if the Ravens haven’t seen the progress before.
You look at the Ravens’ crowd of receivers and it’s tough to see where Perriman fits. Michael Crabtree, John Brown and Willie Snead IV have three of the spots locked. As the team’s kick returner, a core special teams player and a guy who passed Perriman on the depth chart last year, Chris Moore has a good grip on the fourth spot. That probably leaves only one or two spots for a group that includes Perriman, Tim White, Quincy Adeboyejo, DeVier Posey, rookie fourth-round pick Jaleel Scott, rookie fifth-round pick Jordan Lasley and any undrafted free agents the team brings in. Perriman is at a disadvantage in any roster competition because he doesn’t play on special teams.
But it doesn’t hurt to hold on to him through at least the start of training camp. That’s when the Ravens will have to make a decision on his status. Declining his fifth-year option means Perriman almost certainly won’t be a Raven in 2019. The more immediate question is whether he will be in 2½ months.
Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta acknowledged that there were a few times during the draft when he got angrier than usual because a player the team was targeting was taken within a handful of picks in front of them.
He didn’t offer any specifics, but I think we can assume James Washington was one of the examples. The Oklahoma State receiver, known for his big-play ability, was one of the players the Ravens hoped would be available when they acquired the first pick of the third round.
But he was taken five picks before the Ravens were on the clock, by the Pittsburgh Steelers nonetheless. The Ravens then traded out of the slot.
The Ravens are left to hope that it won’t bite them badly, as it did in 2010, when they chose offensive lineman Ramon Harewood in the sixth round one spot ahead of where the Steelers got Antonio Brown, or it did last year, when the Ravens selected outside linebacker Tyus Bowser in the second round, bypassing receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who went to the Steelers 15 picks later.
Ten quick thoughts
1) My understanding is the running back the Ravens hoped to get in the draft was Miami’s Mark Walton, but he was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 12th pick of the fourth round, six spots ahead of where the Ravens selected cornerback Anthony Averett.
2) ESPN’s report that free-agent wide receiver Dez Bryant is not getting much interest on the open market and hasn’t seen any offers even close to the Ravens’ multiyear offer only reinforces the idea that money wasn’t the primary reason the deal didn’t get done. Sure, Bryant might want a one-year deal and the Ravens, who didn’t have much salary cap space, preferred a multiyear structure to spread the money out. If both sides are motivated enough to reach a deal, you’d think they would have been able to compromise. But the sense all along was that Bryant had his sights on playing elsewhere.
3) It amazes me every year to see so many people get worked up about the NFL Network’s annual Top 100 player rankings. I gather they wouldn’t be if they saw just how little effort some of the players put into filling the rankings out. It’s great filler from the time between the draft and training camp, but absolutely nothing more.
4) The drafting of Wagner offensive tackle Greg Senat in the sixth round and Ferris State defensive end Zach Sieler in the seventh are the types of choices a team with eight Day 3 draft picks should make. The Ravens understand that it will be impossible for all 12 draft picks to make the team. So why not take a shot on a couple of developmental guys you might be able to store on the practice squad for a year or two and give them a chance at helping you in the future?
5) In relation to the previous thought, I do think the Ravens made an effort to trade a few of their late-round picks to either move up in earlier rounds or to collect picks for future drafts. But it sounds as if there were no takers. I totally get the idea of moving back and collecting more picks, but it seems kind of pointless if the picks are in the sixth or seventh round. Just not a whole lot of value there.
6) Depending on how Lamar Jackson progresses through training camp and the preseason and how Robert Griffin III looks as well, I think this is a year in which the Ravens really will think long and hard about keeping three quarterbacks. If there are any reservations about putting Jackson onto the field in his first year, it makes sense to keep Griffin around.
7) Teams can start signing free agents who won’t count in the compensatory pick formula starting Monday. The Ravens typically make a move or two after that deadline.
8) Extension talks between the Ravens and middle linebacker C.J. Mosley should be heating up any day now, right?
9) Every year, the Ravens seem to find an undrafted player or two who has a big preseason and who the fans fall in love with. Alcorn State running back De’Lance Turner is one of the favorites for that distinction this year.
10) I’m guessing drafting two tight ends is a sign that the Ravens either aren’t confident that Darren Waller will get reinstated after his yearlong suspension or they don’t believe he’d contribute much even if he was allowed back.