The Ravens are losing Steve Smith to retirement, and Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome isn’t ruling out the idea of replacing Smith’s production with a free agent veteran receiver, according to Jeff Zriebec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link). In addition to Smith, Kamar Aiken is also an unrestricted free agent, and has recently indicated that he’s unlikely to return to the Ravens in 2017.
Baltimore’s passing game ranked 26th in DVOA last season, and while that metric factors in the play of quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens’ offensive line, the club’s wide receiving corps was nothing special in 2016. Losing Smith and Aiken won’t help matters, as Mike Wallace now projects as Baltimore’s No. 1 wideout entering the offseason. 2015 first-rounder Breshad Perriman, Chris Moore, Michael Campanaro, Vince Mayle, and Keenan Reynolds currently represent the rest of the Ravens’ pass-catching depth chart.
Wide receiver isn’t the deepest position on the 2017 open market, but this year’s crop of wideouts does offer some intriguing options. Alshon Jeffery — who ranked No. 4 on the latest edition of PFR’s Free Agent Power Rankings — may hit the market if the Bears don’t opt to use the franchise tag for a second consecutive year, while Terrelle Pryor and Michael Floyd also present varying levels of upside. Second-tier receivers include Kendall Wright, Brandon LaFell, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Britt, and Kenny Stills, while bargain basement options such as Anquan Boldin and Ted Ginn should also be available.
In addition to wide receiver, Newsome also stated a desire to add depth to Baltimore’s secondary and improve the club’s offensive line, per Zriebec (Twitter link). Head coach John Harbaugh also spoke to the media today, and indicated that he’s talking to one internal candidate, as well as NFL and college coaches, in an effort to fill the Ravens’ open quarterbacks coach position (link).
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