50 Words Or Less: The Start of Wide Receiver Improvement

New England Patriots wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) in action against Minnesota Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks (54) during the first half of an NFL football game Thursday, Nov. 24, 2022 in Minneapolis.

The Ravens made their first addition in free agency Friday, agreeing in principle to a deal with wide receiver Nelson Agholor.

Here are my thoughts, all in 50 words or less:

Judging by social media, the Agholor addition didn't energize fans bummed by the Ravens' quiet free agency. The reality is the Lamar Jackson and salary-cap situation make a splash far-fetched. It also probably wasn't easy to recruit a top wide receiver considering the uncertainty at quarterback, and options were dwindling.

Agholor didn't pan out in New England the past two seasons, but he's still in his prime (29) and not far removed from a 2020 campaign when he posted 896 yards, eight touchdowns and the second-best yards per catch (18.7) in the league. The key is unlocking that potential again.

Ask the Steelers if Agholor can still ball. He went off for 110 yards against them early last season, including a spectacular 44-yard score. Agholor's game-by-game stat lines have been hit or miss, but there's no doubt he can make big plays. That works for a No. 2/3 receiver.

Agholor reuniting with his former NFL wide receivers coach (Greg Lewis) and college wide receivers coach (Tee Martin) bodes well for the Ravens being able to maximize his ability. The reported contract details ($3.25 million with $3 million in potential incentives) speaks to Agholor betting on himself. He's motivated.

I don't think the Agholor signing diminishes the likelihood of the Ravens drafting a first-round wide receiver. This is just the start of the makeover. Judging by mock drafts, it feels like some combo of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Jordan Addison, Zay Flowers, and/or Quentin Johnston should be available at No. 22.

Calais Campbell visiting the Falcons and Jaguars this week confirms he's not just waiting to see how things shake out in Baltimore. He's actively shopping. Campbell’s tweet to Josina Anderson saying "everything happens for a reason" did not sound like a player who is anticipating a return to the Ravens.

Bringing Campbell back, as the Ravens made clear they're open to, would be ideal. However, wide receiver and cornerback are far bigger needs. Baltimore has young defensive linemen ready for more opportunities, specifically Travis Jones. Last year's third-round pick has major potential. The loss of Campbell's leadership stings though.

Baltimore's reported interest in veteran quarterbacks isn't surprising given the Jackson uncertainty and switch in schemes. Tyler Huntley has been a good backup and could return, but the Ravens are taking a holistic approach to finding the best fit. Whoever ends up being the backup could have a sizeable role.

The Ravens were the eighth-most injured team in the NFL in 2022, per Football Outsiders’ adjusted games lost metric. Part of that was due to the delayed starts for players still coming back from 2021, when the Ravens set the all-time record for adjusted games lost.

While the Ravens haven't made a big splash in free agency, the players they kept will play critical roles, and a major hope for improving next season is that they won't have so many players coming off major injuries. The returning running back trio is a prime example.

Several Ravens could have bigger roles after roster changes during the first week of free agency.

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