Ravens Interested In WR Mike Wallace 'If Price Is Right'
The Ravens are "looking seriously" at speedy wide receiver Mike Wallace "if the price is right," reported NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala Wednesday morning. The Ravens have not confirmed any interest.
If. The. Price. Is. Right.
Those are the key words, folks. General Manager Ozzie Newsome lives by the mantra: right player, right price. It helps that Wallace wouldn't count against the compensatory pick formula, but his salary could get tricky.
Wallace has been paid handsomely ever since he completed his Steelers rookie contract. He got a blockbuster five-year, $60 million deal from the Miami Dolphins when he was considered one of the top prizes of the 2013 free-agency period. Never breaking the 1,000-yard barrier, Wallace didn't live up to his contract during his two years in Miami or one season in Minnesota when he was traded there last year. He freely admits it.
"I make a lot of money," Wallace told CBSSports.com last July. "If you don't live up to the expectations of that contract, people will have stuff to say. I was paid as an elite receiver and I didn't play elite. If I was a fan, and I saw a guy making that much money, I would expect him to be playing at a certain level. But it's a team game. Sometimes, it's not in your hands. People don't understand that from afar."
Does that mean Wallace will accept less money this time around?
He'll be hard-pressed to find that same type of money. While at the NFL Scouting Combine, the Vikings reportedly asked Wallace to take a pay cut from his $11.5 million figure, but obviously the two sides couldn't agree on a price tag as Wallace was released by Minnesota on Monday.
Wallace was being paid as a No. 1 receiver, but he didn't put up top receiver production, notching career lows in Minnesota with 39 catches, 473 yards and two touchdowns. Despite his numbers, Vikings teammates and coaches praised Wallace for his leadership in the locker room, sacrifice and unselfishness.
Those would be welcomed traits in Baltimore, and he wouldn't have the pressure of putting up No. 1 receiver numbers as long as he accepts less money. The Ravens could offer a chance to revive his career because, on paper, he would make a better fit with the system and personnel.
"Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco loves throwing deep, does it extremely well, and has a knack for drawing defensive pass interference calls in such situations," added CBSSports.com's Ryan Wilson. "Baltimore also doesn't have much depth at the position; Steve Smith is set to return but he'll be 37 in May, and Kamar Aiken, who was very good in '15, is still raw. … Wallace would be a nice complement to a passing attack … partly because of his breakaway speed, but mostly because he wouldn't have the burden of being a No. 1 receiver."
"It's good to see the Ravens won't put all eggs in the Perriman basket again. Need more speed," tweeted WNST's Luke Jones.
Other Receivers Available
If Wallace doesn't work out, and the Ravens still want to add another proven vet, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec named five of his other "best remaining" receivers. The list includes Anquan Boldin, James Jones, Bandon LaFell, Rueben Randle and Roddy White.
Zrebiec thinks Wallace is the best fit. Otherwise …
"A reunion with Boldin would be a great story and he'd make any team better, but the Ravens don't really need another possession receiver," Zrebiec wrote. "LaFell, a close friend of Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., is a decent fallback option. Neither he nor Wallace would cost the Ravens a compensatory pick."
Here's our list of who’s out there at receiver and tight end.
Ravens Getting Faith-Filled Family Man In Watson
Ok. Look at the adorable family that the Ravens' newest player, Ben Watson, is bringing to Baltimore. I love them already.
Watson has been extremely active in the community throughout his 13-year NFL career. He was the New Orleans Saints' Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee in 2015 (just like Steve Smith and Anquan Boldin were for their teams), and one of three finalists for the award.
He won the Call to Courage award in 2012, was named one of CNN's "most extraordinary people of the year" in 2014 for his essay on the Ferguson grand jury decision, and is the NFL spokesman for the All-Pro Dad Campaign.
Watson was also watching Baltimore when the city broke into unrest in April of last year. He wrote a 497-word post on Facebook after the riots, which received 39,000 likes on Facebook and led to an appearance on CNN.
"Tonight I see 'smoke,' but we must address the fire," Watson wrote at the time. "The response that we are watching is just 'smoke' from years of hopelessness. After each situation the more I am convinced that the love of God for our fellow brothers and sisters who were created in His image, is our only hope for reconciliation. But the only way we can even see him that way is if God illuminates our view and changes our thought process."
Most Surprising Move: Tendering Ford
Not only did the Ravens act quickly to target and lure Watson to Baltimore, they followed that up with a "surprising" tender for restricted free agent tight end Chase Ford.
Ford didn't play a snap for the Ravens last year, and he landed on injured reserve shortly after he was signed off the Minnesota Vikings practice squad in mid-November. In 2013 and 14, Ford caught a combined 34 passes.
"[T]he $1.671 million low tender is steep for a player who didn't play a snap last year and was on the Vikings practice squad before Baltimore signed him," wrote WNST's Luke Jones.
"To be clear, the right-of-first-refusal tender isn't guaranteed, but that amount currently counts toward the salary cap and it's no secret that the Ravens don't have an abundance of room to maneuver. Perhaps the organization thinks Ford is a diamond in the rough, but it's more likely a reflection of the uneasiness about Gillmore's status for the start of the season."
Is Eugene Monroe Not Even Plan B?
Many assumed that if the Ravens couldn't get Kelechi Osemele to stay in Baltimore, the Ravens would go back to Plan B with Eugene Monroe.
But then this report surfaced:
"If the Ravens add Beachum, their next move would likely be to cut Eugene Monroe, who has been a disappointment since signing his five-year, $37.5 million deal in 2014," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Zrebiec thinks it would be "wise" for the Ravens to keep Monroe for another year to see if he stays healthy, and views Beachum, who can play guard and tackle, as a Plan B for Monroe.
On another note, Monroe became the first active NFL player to advocate that the league look into the potential benefits of medical marijuana.
"You're hitting each other as hard as possible every single day in practice. Your body is in pain a lot of time," Monroe told CNN. "All over our country people are addicted [to opioids], and that's happening in our locker rooms.
"The NFL will need to have legitimate information before they remove marijuana from the banned substance list and ultimately not hurt their product in the field. But there's opportunity in that space also, for the NFL to get involved and maybe lead efforts."
Pacman Jones Re-Signs With Bengals
This actually will be a relief to many Ravens fans, who weren't exactly thrilled with a report that linked the Ravens to free-agent cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. The corner has been productive, but his controversial behavior turned off many in Baltimore.
But* *Jones will not be coming to Baltimore, except as an opponent, as the Bengals re-signed Jones to a three-year deal.
The Ravens already have Jimmy Smith, re-signed Shareece Wright this week and Kyle Arrington reportedly took a pay cut to stay. Zrebiec believes the Ravens could still add another corner to the stable before April's draft.
"There actually are still quite a few solid ones available," Zrebiec wrote. "If the Ravens were able to sign one, it would take the pressure off them to draft one in the early rounds come late April. Guys like [Prince] Amukamara, [Casey] Hayward and [Sean] Smith might be a little pricey at this point. However, [Brandon] Boykin is seemingly a good fit, and [Brent] Grimes is a quality player, but he comes with some baggage."