Is Allen Robinson 'Cheaper' Than Jarvis Landry?
The Ravens got good news Tuesday when the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams chose not to use their franchise or transition tags on wide receivers Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins, respectively.
It helps in at least two ways.
First, adding more top-flight talent to the market can only help the Ravens in their quest to remake their wide receivers room. Second, it reduces the leverage the Miami Dolphins have in demanding a higher trade price tag for wide receiver Jarvis Landy, whose agent Ravens brass are reportedly talking with. The Dolphins will likely be motivated to get a deal done before free agency begins March 14 so Landry's $16 million franchise figure isn't on the books.
It didn't take long for some Ravens fans to dump the idea of Landry for a "cheaper" Allen Robinson.
But you may be surprised to know the two receivers' market value is nearly identical despite Robinson's injury history, according to the projections at Spotrac.com. If anything, it would be Watkins who could be signed for a better value. That said, Landry offers the most durability and production.
Here's a breakdown of each over their first four seasons in the NFL:
Jarvis Landry (25 years old); 5-foot-11, 208 pounds Spotrac's projected market value: $13.8 million per year; 5 years, $69 million overall
Durability: Never missed a game; 64 consecutive games
Career production: 400 catches, 4,038 yards, 22 touchdowns
Quote: "Landry is a somewhat polarizing player due to his enormous catch totals, but low yardage totals and lack of touchdown production prior to this season," wrote CBSSports.com's Jared Dubin. "He played primarily in the slot early in his career, but has begun to show more formation versatility over the last couple seasons. Opinions vary on whether his role as almost strictly a short-area receiver in Miami is a product of his limited skill set, the design of the offense, or both."
Allen Robinson (24), 6-3, 211 Spotrac's projected market value: $13.6 million per year; 5 years, $68 million
Durability: Missed 21 games; foot injury in 2014, ACL in 2017
Career production: 202 catches, 2,848 yards, 22 touchdowns
Quote: "The Jaguars failing to tag Robinson was the most surprising decision," wrote NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal. "He's coming off a torn ACL that kept him out for almost all of 2017, and before that, he posted an erratic 2016 season, but his 1,400-yard campaign in '15 at age 22 showed a true No. 1 receiver skill set."
Sammy Watkins (24), 6-1, 211 Spotrac's projected market value: $5.9 million per year; 3 years, $5.9 million
Durability: Missed 12 games; calf, ankle, foot injuries
Career production: 192 catches, 3,052 yards, 25 touchdowns
Quote: "The Rams will be aggressive in trying to keep Watkins in L.A.," wrote NFL.com's Kevin Patra. "The Rams traded a second-round pick and corner E.J. Gaines for Watkins last offseason. He spent the year as the team's third most productive wideout, behind Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, corralling 39 passes for 593 yards, and eight touchdowns. … With plenty of teams – Chicago, San Francisco, Carolina, etc. – needing receivers, and Watkins still owning enticing traits, the wideout could be primed to cash in during free agency."
*Draft picks also need to factor into this equation. *
To acquire Landry via a trade, the Ravens would presumably have to sacrifice pick(s). The quantity and quality isn't known. It's possible a trade isn't facilitated and the Dolphins could rescind the franchise tag, allowing Landry to hit the free-agent market.
Robinson and Watkins would also probably cost draft picks … just down the road. As unrestricted free agents, they would count against the compensatory pick formula and could potentially cancel out a selection for, say, center Ryan Jensen if he were to command a big payday on the free-agent market and start next season for another team. If Landry hits the market, signing him would have the same effect.
"If the Ravens] have to give up draft picks to get Landry or other receivers, [that’s fine," wrote John Eisenberg. "[Holding onto draft picks] is their natural reflex, one of their operating fundamentals – horde picks and build your foundation with them. It's a sound philosophy, but after three straight years of standing pat and not making the playoffs (while seeing some relatively high picks not pan out), the Ravens shouldn't hesitate to try a new approach. At his age, Landry is worth a high pick."
Of course, there's no guarantee the Ravens will land any of these three receivers.
It's worth noting that the Ravens haven't signed a high-profile unrestricted free agent wide receiver in 15 years, according to ESPN (Steve Smith, Derrek Mason, etc. were cap casualties).
Plus, demand for top-flight receivers is high and there's not enough supply. Given the ample cap room for other teams such as the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers and Cleveland Browns – all in the market for a receiver – getting any of the three would be a coup for Baltimore.
Say What? Baker Mayfield to Ravens at No. 16? That's a Former Ravens Scout's Prediction
Owner Steve Bisciotti probably wouldn't approve of this, Daniel Jeremiah.
The former Ravens scout projected widely-debated Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Ravens with their 16th overall pick in the first round.
"The Ravens should be in rebuild mode and that starts with a new signal-caller. Mayfield can sit behind Joe Flacco until he's ready to take over," Jeremiah wrote.
It's a BOLDprediction considering Bisciotti threw cold water on the idea of finding Flacco's replacement in this year's draft, saying, "We've got bigger fish to fry."
Mocking Mayfield to the Ravens is an intriguing idea in and of itself, but so is Jeremiah's assertion that the Ravens are in "rebuild mode."
The opposite notion is being discussed locally with Ozzie Newsome in his final year as general manager. He said last week that he and Head Coach John Harbaugh, along with the rest of the organization, are feeling "the heat" as they try to return to the playoffs after three years on the outside. The feeling around town is the Ravens are in more of a "win now" mode.
Mayfield is a polarizing quarterback prospect. He is a fearless and fiery Heisman Trophy winner that might not be everyone's cup of tea, especially after he made an inappropriate gesture toward Kansas players during a game last year. Some lump him in with Johnny Manziel, but his teammate Orlando Brown says that's not an accurate or fair comparison.
Mayfield's short stature (6-foot-0, 216 pounds) is a concern for scouts, but NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock says he's a legitimate first-round pick if he convinces people that he's emotionally mature off the field.
Why would the Ravens take him?
Perhaps the hardest thing for a team to do is find a franchise quarterback. And given how many options this year's class offers, some are saying there's merit to Jeremiah's idea.
"Let's get one thing out of the way: Jeremiah is not the click-bait type," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "He's a well-respected evaluator and analyst. He is connected throughout the league and has many friends in the Ravens organization from his time here working as a scout. He obviously projected the Ravens taking Mayfield because he thinks it would be a good fit, because he's heard that the team is high on the fiery quarterback or because that's just the general part of the draft that he expects Mayfield to come off the board."
Zrebiec says the Ravens drafting Mayfield isn't likely, but it also isn't crazy because 1) Flacco is 33 years old, 2) he hasn't "put together an above-average season" since 2014, 3) backup Ryan Mallett is a pending unrestricted free agent, 4) the Ravens could get out of Flacco's contract next year and 5) the draft class doesn't offer high-end talent that matches the team's needs.
Calvin Ridley Falling to Ravens Is No Longer a 'Pipe Dream'
Remember how everyone kept saying that if the Ravens want to get the best receiver in the 2018 NFL Draft, they'll have to trade up to do it?
Well, that's not looking to be the case post-NFL Scouting Combine.
"Ridley's mixed reviews in Indianapolis could cause him to fall out of the top 10 and land right to Baltimore at the No. 16 overall pick," wrote ESPN. "The growing sentiment is that Ridley remains the best wide receiver of this draft class. He's just being viewed now as a top-20 talent rather than a top-10 one."
Ridley, who is just 16 months younger than Robinson, didn't necessarily have a bad Combine. He didn't help himself that much either, however. He had the sixth-fastest 40-yard dash (4.43 seconds) among receivers, 34th-ranked vertical jump (31 inches) and 37th-ranked broad jump (9 feet, 2 inches).
"If you had projected Ridley to go to the Ravens in the first round last month, you'd be accused of being overly optimistic," ESPN wrote. "After the NFL combine, the Ravens' chances of landing the draft's No. 1 wide receiver doesn't seem so crazy after all."
Colts WR Donte Moncrief a Potential Match for Baltimore
The Ravens will also likely look at the second and third waves of free-agent wide receivers scheduled to hit the market, even if they do sign one of the high-profile players mentioned above.
After all, the team "will leave no stones unturned" in remaking the unit.
One lesser-known Indianapolis Colts receiver has been linked to Baltimore.
To be clear, Rapoport is saying Moncrief could get a similarly-structured contract as Jeffrey. He certainly isn't comparing their production or potential.
Moncrief caught 26 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns last year for the Colts, who finished with the 31st-ranked offense without starter Andrew Luck (shoulder) under center. Moncrief, a fifth-year veteran, totaled seven touchdowns the year before with Luck throwing him passes. Over the last two seasons, Moncrief has missed 11 games due to injury.
"Simply put, Moncrief is a big-play receiver, who can make an impact, if he stays healthy," wrote Baltimore Beatdown's Logan Levy. "He has solid, reliable hands as well. According to Fox Sports, Moncrief only had two drops on 105 targets and a solid catch percentage of 61%. In 2016, he only had one drop on 56 targets, while he had two drops on 47 targets during the 2017 season. Although his catch percentage in 2017 was 55.3%. With Moncrief, injuries are, without a doubt, the biggest question."
Re-Signing Brent Urban Completes Return of Starting Defense. How Much Did He Cost?
The Ravens re-signed defensive end Brent Urban to a one-year deal Tuesday, which makes the return of the entire starting defense complete.
Losing Urban to a Lisfranc foot injury in Week 3 last season was a "significant blow" to the Ravens, says Zrebiec. The absence of the 6-foot-7, 300 pounder was noticeable as the Ravens struggled getting interior pressure on quarterbacks and didn't contain the run as well as usual.
Urban has finished on injured reserved in three of his four NFL seasons, missing a total of 39 games.
"Terms aren't immediately known, but it will likely be a ‘prove-it’ deal for Urban, a talented player who has struggled with injuries," wrote Zrebiec. "If Urban can stay healthy and have a productive 2018 season, the 26 year old can hit the free-agent market next offseason and potentially get a much more lucrative payday."
Rapoport reported the contract is worth up to $2.35 million, but it's unclear how much of that deal is tied to incentives that, if met, wouldn't count against the cap until next year.