Ravens Have 'Good Visit' With Sammy Watkins
Despite reportedly leaving Baltimore without a deal, the Ravens are interested in signing free-agent wide receiver Sammy Watkins after a "good visit," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Schefter reported that Watkins was with the Ravens on Tuesday and is visiting the Indianapolis Colts today. He also said that Watkins has drawn interest from the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans.
The Ravens haven't signed a free-agent receiver this offseason, but reportedly had interest in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Kenny Golladay.
What could this mean for a potential deal?
When the Ravens want a receiver in free agency, they typically don't let them leave the building. When they signed Steve Smith Sr. to a three-year deal in 2014, he reportedly had interest from other teams.
"His time with the Rams and Chiefs reinforced the belief Watkins is likely most effective at this stage as a second option, which makes a fit with the Ravens affordable, but doesn't quite answer Baltimore's prolonged need for a No. 1 target," NFL.com’s Nick Shook wrote. "Watkins would pair well with speedster Marquise Brown, though, perhaps opening Baltimore's passing offense, which has lagged behind its dominant rushing attack in the last two seasons.
"It's not a dream scenario for the Ravens, but it might be most ideal considering their financial position ($12.4 million in cap space, per Over The Cap) and nature of their offense. Instead of adding a big name at receiver, a complementary piece could end up being exactly what Baltimore needs. We'll learn whether the Ravens and Watkins believe a pairing is in their best interest."
"The story is not over," The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker added. "With cheaper options such as T.Y. Hilton and Sammy Watkins still available, the Ravens might make a move if the price is right. If they don't, fans will have good reason to shake their heads.
"The opportunity was there to improve one of the team's weakest position groups, but the pebble remains in the shoe for reasons that go beyond mere dollars and cents."
Mel Kiper Set on First Round Receiver to Ravens
Born and bred in Baltimore, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper is one of the pundits who always seems to have a good pulse on the Ravens organization. Last year, he predicted they would select Patrick Queen with the 28th-overall pick.
This time around, Kiper seems confident in predicting who the Ravens will take with the 27th-overall pick. He's now mocked LSU wide receiver Terrace Marshall Jr. to Baltimore not once, not twice, but three times.
"This is my third mock draft, and I've pegged Marshall to the Ravens in all three, which pretty much guarantees that they will go in another direction," Kiper wrote. "It just makes too much sense, though. Lamar Jackson needs a wide receiver who can line up on the outside and run every route. That's how Jackson can take the leap forward in Year 4. Marshall had 10 scores and averaged 15.2 yards per catch last season, and he had 13 touchdowns while catching passes from Joe Burrow in 2019. This is another spot in which I thought about center Landon Dickerson."
Marshall was the fifth receiver off the board in Kiper's mock behind LSU teammate Ja'Marr Chase, Alabama's DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle, and Florida's Kadarius Toney.
LSU has had a strong track record of producing elite NFL receivers. Just last season, Justin Jefferson racked up 1,400 receiving yards and seven touchdowns during his rookie campaign with the Minnesota Vikings.
While Chase, who sat out of the 2020-2021 college football season, is considered by many draft pundits as the top receiver in this year's class, Fansided’s Jonah Hovis says it's not time to write off Marshall's ability.
"If you are a college football fan, you will remember that LSU team with Jefferson and Chase who went on to win a National Championship and also remember there was a third guy who had similar production but not as much name recognition," Hovis wrote. "Marshall Jr. does not have any red flags that may cause some struggle adapting to the NFL. Marshall is one of the more physical pass-catchers in the 2021 NFL Draft as well as has numbers to back up his play. Even though Marshall played behind Jamar Chase and Justin Jefferson, he really showed he could be a number one target this season with Chase deciding to sit out and prepare for the draft. Terrace Marshall Jr. has first-round talent, but will most likely be an early second-round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft."
Ravens Among Top Teams in Post-Free Agency Power Rankings
NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus and Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr ranked all 32 teams after the first wave of free agency, and there's still plenty of confidence in the Ravens.
Baltimore was a consensus top 10 team for the majority of last season, and that hasn't changed after the moves they've made.
"The rest of the NFL seems to have colluded to prevent Jackson from getting a second stellar wide receiver to open up this offense, but at some point Eric DeCosta and John Harbaugh will not be denied," Orr wrote, who had the Ravens at No. 7 in his rankings. "Despite losing Matt Judon to the Patriots, Baltimore remains an elite team just a few game-breaking players away from a Super Bowl run."
Aside from signing Kevin Zeitler, the Ravens have been quiet on the market, mostly prioritizing their own free agents. Orr ranked Baltimore one spot behind the Pittsburgh Steelers, pointing to the return of Ben Roethlisberger and a defense that was one of the NFL's best last season.
Hanzus ranked the Ravens fifth, but still believes they need help in the passing attack.
"The Ravens had a chance to swipe Smith-Schuster away from the Steelers, but they didn't produce a contract offer good enough to keep Smith-Schuster from returning to Pittsburgh on a one-year, $8 million deal," Hanzus wrote. "On Monday, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Baltimore was meeting with Watkins, who's had an enigmatic NFL career but still profiles as an upgrade over Marquise Brown in the receiver pecking order. It's fair to wonder how excited free agent receivers might be about joining a Ravens team that threw the ball a league-low 406 times in 2020."
Joe Flacco Signs One-Year Deal With Eagles
Joe Flacco will continue his playing career, this time a little closer to home.
Flacco and the Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms on a one-year contract Tuesday.
Flacco joined the New York Jets last season to be closer to his hometown of Audubon, N.J. and this move puts him right in the backyard.
The former Ravens Super Bowl MVP made four starts for the Jets last season. He threw for 864 yards, along with six touchdowns and three interceptions.
Flacco will now backup second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia under new head coach Nick Sirianni.