Jarvis Landry Got Tagged. So What's Next?
So much chatter around Baltimore about Jarvis Landry for nothing.
We all knew there was a possibility that the Miami Dolphins would place the franchise tag on the free-agent wide receiver, and last night they made it official.
And Ravens safeties Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle, who were doing some Twitter recruitment of Landry, reacted:
"[The news] reaffirms how difficult it will be for the Ravens to make significant upgrades at the top of their receiving corps," The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec wrote.
As Zrebiec reminded us, the picture could become even more grim in the coming days if the Jacksonville Jaguars put the tag on Allen Robinson and the Los Angeles Rams put it on Sammy Watkins. Both teams have plenty of salary-cap space to do so, and ESPN has reported that they both will likely be tagged if they don't reach long-term deals.
"What will that leave for the Ravens, who will likely have to retool their entire receiving group with Mike Wallace and Michael Campanaro hitting free agency and Jeremy Maclin being a potential salary-cap casualty?" Zrebiec asked. "Not a lot in terms of top-end talent."
Wallace would suddenly be one of the top free-agent receivers available, even though he's coming off a year of diminished production and will turn 32 this season.
Other options that Zrebiec pointed to are Jacksonville's Marquise Lee, the Seattle Seahawks' Paul Richardson, Washington Redskins' Terrelle Pryor, Buffalo Bills' Jordan Matthews, Arizona Cardinals' John Brown and Indianapolis Colts' Donte Moncrief. He provided a short breakdown of each.
"Several veteran receivers will likely be salary cap casualties in the days ahead, but the current free-agent wide receiver group isn't exactly inspiring," Zrebiec wrote.
Could a Trade Be the Best Avenue to Add Talent?
So, if the Ravens can't get a top free agent, and let's say the draft's top wide receiver – Alabama's Calvin Ridley – is taken ahead of Baltimore, then what about a trade?
Baltimore Beatdown's Jacob Louque looked into that possibility and pointed to the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles as examples.
The Patriots traded their first-round pick last year to the New Orleans Saints for wide receiver Brandin Cooks, who still had two years left on his rookie deal. Cooks was just $1.5 million against the salary cap, per Spotrac, and posted 65 catches for 1,082 yards and seven touchdowns. That's major value.
In a midseason trade, the Eagles sent a fourth-round pick to the Dolphins for running back Jay Ajayi. They also got defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan from the Ravens and cornerback Ronald Darby from the Buffalo Bills via trade.
So, is this a possible route for the Ravens? General Manager Ozzie Newsome always preaches that there are many ways to add talent to the roster, and Anquan Boldin is an example of a big-time receiver he's previously added through a trade.
"Getting a proven player still on their first contract could make some sense for Baltimore," Louque wrote.
"Without getting specific, what they should be doing right now is taking a look at players from the 2014, 2015, and 2016 draft classes who have shown enough that they may warrant a second contract, but are also in position where their team may be willing to part ways with them for the right price. If they do miss out on some of the receivers/tight ends that are already being thrown out as suggestions, this may be the route that they have to take."
History Shows a QBs Coach Will Help Flacco
Everybody is on the search for the wide receiver that can instantly upgrade Baltimore's offense (see above).
But is the biggest boost for quarterback Joe Flacco already on the payroll?
History shows that the addition of Quarterbacks Coach James Urban "will go a long way in helping Flacco get out of his rut," writes ESPN.
ESPN has the stats to back it up. In six seasons with a full-time quarterbacks coach for a majority of the year, Flacco has thrown 123 touchdowns and 68 interceptions (87.7 passer rating). In four seasons without one, he has 77 touchdowns and 62 interceptions (79.5 rating).
Flacco's best single-season quarterback rating of 93.6 came in 2010 under Jim Zorn. His only other time above 90 was in 2014 with Rick Dennison (and Gary Kubiak), when he threw a career-high 27 touchdown passes.
"One reason why Flacco has been more productive with a quarterbacks coach is the added instruction when it comes to his footwork and delivery," ESPN wrote.
A month ago, our John Eisenberg wrote that Urban may be the Ravens' most important hire. Now it seems more are jumping on board.
"There's a system in place; you teach, you build, and within that system, you allow the great natural ability to go," Urban said shortly after being hired. "I'm looking forward to putting things together, working to establish the foundation and go from there; get Joe healthy and watch what we can do."