Although the Ravens gave Lamar Jackson the biggest contract in NFL history — in terms of average annual value — their top two outside investments this offseason have gone to wide receivers. Following their Odell Beckham Jr. signing, the Ravens chose Zay Flowers 22nd overall. Baltimore took calls from teams during the first round, and GM Eric DeCosta indicated teams wanted to move up. Leery of losing their chance to add a first-round-caliber wideout, the Ravens passed on offers.
“We had gotten some calls from some teams behind us. It didn’t take a rocket scientist … to tell me that they were coming up for receivers,” DeCosta said during The Lounge podcast (via BaltimoreRavens.com). “We decided to stand pat at that point because we knew there was a legitimate risk that we were going to lose the guys that we coveted. The Giants being one of those teams. The Chiefs were behind us as well.”
Both teams showed interest in wideouts, with the Chiefs being connected to moving up for Jordan Addison. The Giants made an effort to trade up for a receiver — with their target believed to be Flowers — but after the Vikings chose Addison at No. 23, Big Blue moved up one spot (to No. 24) for cornerback Deonte Banks. DeCosta also expected the Chargers to pass on Flowers at No. 21, indicating the Bolts generally like “the bigger receivers, the route runners.” The biggest of this year’s first-round receiver lot, 208-pound Quentin Johnston, went to the Chargers. The Ravens have added Beckham, Flowers and Nelson Agholor to their receiver group, one previously headlined by Rashod Bateman and Devin Duvernay. Both holdovers are coming off season-ending foot injuries.
Here is the latest receiver news from around the NFL:
- Darnell Mooney missed the final five games of the Bears‘ 3-14 season due to an ankle injury. The three-year starter underwent surgery, with NFL.com reporting he had sustained ligament tears. But Mooney is on track to return to football work fairly soon. The contract-year wideout has a chance to be cleared before the end of Chicago’s offseason program, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Should that benchmark not be met, Mooney will be expected to be full-go by training camp. Mooney totaled 1,055 receiving yards in 2021 and will be expected to join D.J. Moore as Justin Fields‘ top targets this season, one that will potentially set him up for a lucrative extension or free agency accord.
- The Chargers did not retain DeAndre Carter this offseason; the veteran returner/auxiliary wideout signed with the Raiders. They are expecting the other TCU wideout they drafted — fourth-rounder Derius Davis — to pick up the slack in the return game, Lindsey Thiry of ESPN.com notes. Davis posted the second-fastest wide receiver 40-yard dash time (4.36 seconds) at the Combine and tallied six return touchdowns (five on punts) with the Horned Frogs from 2018-22. While Brandon Staley is not limiting the 5-foot-8 rookie to return duty, the Bolts did draft Johnston and are also still rostering Josh Palmer and Jalen Guyton as Keenan Allen–Mike Williams backups.
- The Seahawks created some cap space recently by restructuring Tyler Lockett‘s contract. By converting $8.5MM of Lockett’s base salary into a signing bonus, the Seahawks created $5.7MM in space (per ESPN’s Field Yates). As Lockett’s 2023 cap hit drops to $11MM, his 2024 and ’25 numbers balloon to $26.7MM apiece. Lockett is tied to his third Seahawks contract, a four-year, $69MM deal agreed to in April 2021.
- Former Eagles second-round pick JJ Arcega-Whiteside received a tryout opportunity at the Falcons‘ recent rookie minicamp, according to Fox Sports’ Greg Auman (on Twitter). Arcega-Whiteside has been unable to establish himself as a pro, being tried at tight end and then traded to the Seahawks before last season. The Seahawks cut the Stanford product in November. He remains unsigned.