The Baltimore Ravens have needs this offseason, and when free agency starts, it should get crazy. And hopefully the Ravens are a big part in the free agent market.
The Ravens have to decide whether to search for players in the draft or in the free agent market. I’m going to take a look at some of the free agents outside of Baltimore in the positions the Ravens need.
The offensive line is a major item that needs to be worked on as General Manager Ozzie Newsome has pointed out, but he also wants another sure-handed receiver. The free agent market is filled with great receivers.
Can the Ravens get these receivers? I don’t know. Just because the player is a free agent now does not mean they will not sign another contract to stay with their current team. Some of these receivers would be tough to get.
But there was recent talk that the Ravens will be active and aggressive in free agency.
Hopefully because it is on Newsome’s list of things to do, he will be active and aggressive to get some of these receivers in the free agency market.
If you know some of the FA wide receivers, you probably knew I was going to mention Anquan Boldin. After leaving the Ravens for the San Francisco 49ers, he is a free agent this season, and I would love it if the Ravens at least attempted to resign him.
This is probably more of a fantasy, but Newsome knows what type of receiver they want, though he is reluctant to give away many details beyond simply: a clutch receiver to move the chains when needed. Those are not his exact words, but my simple analysis of what he said in recent postseason media sessions.
Boldin would fit what he wants to return, and we all know how well he played in Baltimore with clutch catches. But let’s step away from Boldin; there are still more receivers in the market that the Ravens could look at getting.
Riley Cooper of the Philadelphia Eagles is set to be a free agent, and he has proven himself to be a valuable receiver. If you can look beyond his past at the beginning of the 2013 season, he could help the Ravens out.
Watching some of the Eagles’ games, Cooper caught clutch balls and really played well when his number was called.
With a team that has had varying quarterbacks, Cooper brought in a little over 1500 yards receiving over four years with the Eagles. That is over 800 this past season with eight touchdowns. Cooper has the chance to be a great receiver, and if for some reason he does not want to stay in Philadelphia, the Ravens could use him.
I believe he could flourish with Joe Flacco in control of the ball. This past season with Nick Foles, Cooper did play better. So on a team with a set quarterback, Cooper could really begin to show what he can do.
In a season without Rodgers for a good bit, he caught 59 passes for nearly 900 yards. Jones has continued a steady improvement over his years in Green Bay. He caught 14 touchdown passes in 2012.
These two players would be tough to get, but the Ravens are supposed to be aggressive and I want to see them be aggressive. Anquan Boldin performed great for the Ravens, similarly to these players in Baltimore, but he ended up leaving. So I would not count anything out until the contract is signed.
Despite numbers and injuries, two other names that pop out for me are Mario Manningham of San Francisco and Austin Collie of the New England Patriots. Neither have had outstanding numbers recently, but I feel like a change in scenery would help them.
For Manningham, injuries have been a cause for his lack of productivity, so that could be an immediate red flag, but I think he’ll start improving enough to be effective.
Collie may be a stretch since he may not be the ideal receiver Newsome is looking for, but he can still hold his own with an accurate passer.
When a player leaves a team, there are so many variables that determine if they will shine with a new team, or continue to be the same. These are variables that cannot be effectively measured until looking back over an extended period.
The Ravens plan to be active, so I hope to see them be particularly so in this wide receiver free agency search.