Should Ravens Shift Their Focus to Decker?
As Ravens fans hold their breath for free agent Jeremy Maclin, who has not signed with the Buffalo Bills as of this morning, another standout wide receiver is about to hit the market.
New York Jets wide receiver Eric Decker will be released in the coming days if a trade is not facilitated, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Decker, 30, underwent hip and shoulder surgery last fall, but he is healthy again and has been practicing.
So, should the Ravens go after Decker now?
ESPN's Jamison Hensley weighed in with his opinon. After saying the Ravens were the best fit for Maclin a couple days ago, Henlsey also feels Decker would makes sense.
"Decker is the red-zone threat and model of consistency that quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens' passing attack desperately needs," Hensley wrote.
Decker has been a touchdown monster over his career. He has 52 since coming into the league in 2010. Only four players – Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas – have more than Decker (43) since 2012.
As Hensley pointed out, Decker has either caught passes for more than 80 yards or scored a touchdown in 18 of his last 19 games.
"He's one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL, which is huge for a Ravens offense that has only one player (Mike Wallace) who's ever produced a 1,000-yard receiving season," Hensley wrote.
Hensley says Decker isn't as speedy as Maclin, not as good a route runner and won't get as much separation. But Hensley says the Ravens have speed (can you ever have too much?).
"What Decker does best plays off the skill set of Wallace and Perriman," Hensley wrote.
"He's a big-bodied target (6-foot-3, 214 pounds) for Flacco who isn't afraid to go over the middle. He repeatedly fights his way off press coverage. He eats up defenses on slant routes. And he plays like a power forward inside the 20-yard line."
Decker may be more affordable than Maclin. Hensley says Decker may have to sign an "affordable, prove-it type of a deal." Even if Baltimore traded for him, they would want to reduce his $7.25 million salary.
There could be hesitation on the Ravens' side of things considering Decker's injuries, which limited him to just three games last season. Baltimore is quite familiar with hip issues (though not the same kind) with tight end Dennis Pitta.
But, suddenly, there are two proven, dynamic wide receivers on the market.
"To get a difference-maker in the passing attack, it appears as if the Ravens' last chance to do so is by adding Decker or Maclin this week," Hensley wrote.
Speaking of that Maclin visit with the Bills …
Jets Tried to Lure Steve Smith Sr. Out of Retirement
Speaking of the Jets, this is an interesting move …
New York is in rebuilding mode, as evidenced by the Decker news and the fact that they also released veteran linebacker David Harris. They also let Brandon Marshall walk in free agency.
So who do the Jets want playing wide receiver?
The Jets contacted former Ravens star Steve Smith Sr. about playing in 2017, NFL Network's Kimberly Jones reported on Tuesday's edition of "Inside Minicamp Live."
"Earlier today in the green room, Steve Smith Sr. was saying 'Hey, the Jets reached out to me,'" Jones explained. "Yes, the Jets reached out to Steve Smith, asked if he was still interested in playing. He indicated he wasn't."
This isn't surprising. Smith has been adamant that he's done playing, and he seems to be enjoying retirement working with NFL Media.
Perriman Named An Under-the-Radar X-Factor
With Dennis Pitta (hip) now sidelined, the Ravens need all the help they can get from their receiving weapons.
And it makes Perriman's hot start in OTAs even more important.
NFL Media's Marc Sessler named 14 under-the-radar X-factors for the 2017 NFL season, and Perriman made the list.
"After using their entire draft to bolster the defense and O-line, Baltimore's biggest questions hover around the skill-position groups," Sessler wrote.
"The backfield lacks an unquestioned workhorse, and the receiving corps is filled with underwhelming names beyond Mike Wallace and Perriman. It's the latter who must step up after two grueling seasons."
"Underwhelming names" can sometimes prove to be gems waiting to be discovered, and the Ravens believe Michael Campanaro, Chris Moore, Chris Matthews and others could be ready to step into bigger roles.
Perriman has certainly shown he's ready so far in OTAs.
"That had better translate into September, or Baltimore's passing game will hold this team back," Sessler wrote.