Ravens Are in the Running for Big Slot Receiver Allen Hurns
On the same day the Ravens reportedly hosted two restricted wide receiver free-agents visits, they were also "vying" for recently released Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Allen Hurns.
Baltimore appears to be in the running for his services, but there's plenty of competition.
Hurns is scheduled to meet with the New York Jets, according to ESPN's Josina Anderson, but the Jets also just signed wide receiver Terrelle Pryor. It's unclear if they're still interested in Hurns after adding Pryor.
Keeping his team in the mix on three different receivers after already signing two (Michael Crabtree, John Brown) certainly qualifies as Ozzie Newsome fulfilling his promise to remake the receiver room. Crabtree replaces Jeremy Maclin, while Brown will take over Mike Wallace's speedy deep-threat role.
The roster could still use somebody to fill the slot role, and Hurns could fit the bill.
"At 6-feet-3, 205 pounds, Hurns doesn't look like your typical slot receiver," wrote ESPN. "But he's physical and fearless going over the middle, which has led to injuries. Durability is a question mark for him."
Those injuries have been a major factor in Hurns, 26, not living up to the four-year, $40 million extension he received after a massive 2015 breakout season. He caught 64 passes for 1,031 yards and 10 touchdowns that year, but has failed to reach 40 catches and 500 yards the last two years while missing 11 games with hamstring and ankle injuries.
As a result, the Jaguars cut Hurns in favor of Donte Moncrief, who the Ravens were also reportedly interested in signing during the first wave of free agency.
"Hurns is certainly an intriguing option for Baltimore as he would be another red zone target for quarterback Joe Flacco," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Logan Levy. "Hurns also has big play ability. … This will be something worth monitoring, but it is clear that Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens are not done searching for wide receivers."
UPDATE: Hurns told Anderson that he's signing with the Dallas Cowboys.
Mike Wallace Underappreciated During Time in Baltimore; Teammates' Outpouring of Love
Want to know which Ravens players are most popular in the locker room?
Hands down, Mike Wallace was one of the most well-liked by teammates, coaches and even the local media. He's often misunderstood by the national media as somebody that only cares about himself, his production and paycheck, but that's a misread of a guy that has unflinching confidence and isn't afraid to speak up.
The outpouring of warm farewell messages from his teammates after it was announced last night that Wallace signed a one-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles demonstrated their love and respect for him.
ESPN said Wallace was "underappreciated" during his time in Baltimore. He led the team in receiving yards (1,765 total) the last two years and led the NFL with eight catches of 50 or more yards.
Many fans liked the idea of bringing Wallace back, which probably would have been affordable seeing as he got a one-year deal worth $2.5 million, plus incentives, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. That said, the Ravens are hitting the reset button on a broken passing game from last year and are looking to the future.
"This isn't a knock on Wallace at all. … I'm just not sure that he’s the best fit for the Ravens this year,
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec wrote before Wallace signed with the Eagles.
"If Wallace was signed, he'd almost certainly join Brown and Crabtree on short-term deals, meaning the Ravens would again next offseason be looking at having to revamp their entire receiving group. That is not ideal. What also wouldn't be ideal is the Ravens not getting an extended opportunity to play or evaluate young receivers with Crabtree, Brown and Wallace entrenched as the top three. …[I]t's not foolish to look toward the future at the position rather than obsessing over the present."
Michael Campanaro Not Expected to Return
Under Zrebiec's logic of moving forward with a foundation of youth at receiver instead of short-term deals, it wouldn't be surprising if the Ravens didn't re-sign Michael Campanaro either.
In fact, Zrebiec reported last night along with the Wallace news that Campanaro "is not expected to return."
Newsome said last week during Brown's introductory press conference that the door wasn't closed on Campanaro re-signing, but he said the same thing about Wallace too. A seventh-round pick in 2014, Campanaro has always shown potential and had a strong work ethic, but injuries repeatedly derailed his progress. He is coming off his best season where he missed just two games because of injuries.
"Not re-signing him] does come as a bit of a surprise after Newsome’s prior comments about Campanaro, but this, along with Wallace leaving, [does fit to what the team is trying to do," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Evan Mazza.
A Three-Round Draft Prediction That Would Make Ravens Fans Jump for Joy
Want to re-energize the fan base after missing the playoffs the last three years?
A draft like this ought to do it.
NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks put together three-round predictions for the Ravens, giving them two pass-catching studs, including Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore IN THE SECOND ROUND. Talk about a dream scenario after getting arguably the best tight end in the draft.
And to top it off, why not add the most popular player from the Combine with linebacker Shaquem Griffin? He put up incredible numbers in Indianapolis, which was just frosting on the cake after a standout college career at UCF despite missing a hand.
First Round (No. 16): TE Dallas Goedert
- 6-foot-5, 255 pounds
- 72 receptions, 1,111 yards, 7 touchdowns last year
- Three-time 1st-team All-MVFC selection
- Playmaking pass catcher that could make life easier for Joe Flacco
Second Round (No. 52) WR D.J. Moore
- 6-foot-0, 210 pounds
- 46 receptions for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns during three-year college career
- 2017 1st-team All-Big Ten selection
- Crafty route-runner; dynamic runner that can break tackles
Third Round (No. 83): LB Shaquem Griffin
- 2016 AAC Defensive Player of the Year
- Brings versatility and speed
- Ran the fastest 40-yard dash (4.38 seconds) by a linebacker ever recorded at the Combine, put up 20 bench reps with a prosthetic hand
- 18.5 sacks and 33.5 tackles for loss during his final two seasons at Central Florida