Every offseason it seems as though the Baltimore Ravens are in the market for a wide receiver, but this offseason might be the most crucial for Ozzie Newsome and his staff.
The Ravens released Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith isn’t expected back. The upcoming draft is filled with terrific options, and a lot of draft experts think the Ravens will be taking a wide receiver in the first round.
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The free agent class will be lacking any star power with Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant likely getting the franchise tag. Fans would love to see Brandon Marshall in a Ravens uniform, but there is no indication that the Bears are seriously considering releasing him. The reality is the top free agent option at the position might be Smith, and the financial stranglehold is going to make it hard for them to lure somebody in.
Still, there is almost no chance the Ravens enter the season with Steve Smith Sr. as the only true playmaker on the outside. The Ravens would be wise to bring in a veteran wide receiver to compliment Smith with the option to still add a top guy in the draft too.
Baltimore will have plenty of competition as many teams around the league are in search of a wide out, but the Ravens have the added advantage of being a perineal winner on their side.
Below are three guys who could come in and help the Ravens offense right away.
At times, Shorts was the lone bright spot for some really bad Jacksonville Jaguars teams. His best season was in 2012 when he led the Jags in receiving yards and touchdowns with a terrific 17.8 yards per catch. He has been targeted over 100 times in each of the past three seasons, and hasn’t exactly had a quality quarterback to get him the ball.
He comes with some injury concern, having finished the 2012 and 2013 seasons on injured reserve. Shorts doesn’t do anything particularly spectacular, but could be a solid starting option if the Ravens do not take a WR in the draft also.
Think of him as a Lee Evans-type player. Before you hated him for dropping the pass against the Patriots.
At 30 years old, Douglas is one of the more experienced receivers in this free agent class. Douglas would be a welcomed addition in the slot as the Ravens are lacking a wide receiver or tight end to work the middle of the field.
He also has the abilty to excel on the outside after garnering a lot of playing time behind the oft-injured Julio Jones and Roddy White. Douglas has never been a full-time starter in his seven seasons, which should limit the amount of money he is asking in negotiations.
If the Ravens could get Douglas on a one or two-year deal, they would almost certainly be in the mix for a wide receiver in the draft.
Nicks did not have a terrific season by his standards in his one-year tenure with the Indianapolis Colts. Many thought that Nicks teaming up with Andrew Luck would revitalize his once promising career. Instead, he finished with career-lows in receptions and yards.
The reason for optimism is the former University of North Carolina star was an integral part of the Colts offense in the final weeks of the regular season and postseason. He avoided injury report throughout the season, which is huge considering his consistent leg ailments while in New York.
After failing to impress on the overall season, Nicks has the potential to be a terrific buy-low candidate this offseason. He’s just 27 and could still have plenty to offer now that he’s healthy.
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