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Ravens Envision a Bigger Role for Rashod Bateman Next Year

WR Rashod Bateman
WR Rashod Bateman

The Ravens are bullish on the future of their wide receiver corps, and see Rashod Bateman as a big part of it.

Zay Flowers will be returning following the most productive rookie season for a wide receiver in franchise history, in which he posted a team-high 77 catches for 858 yards.

Odell Beckham Jr. and Nelson Agholor finished second and third among Ravens wide receivers in yards with 565 and 381, respectively, but both were playing on one-year deals.

Bateman's third season was a bit more puzzling. He posted 32 catches for 367 yards and one touchdown on 56 targets, but it seemingly could've been much higher. The tape and analytics showed Bateman was getting plenty of separation.

For whatever reason, Lamar Jackson and Bateman didn't connect as often as they could have this season, but the Ravens are confident that can change.

"Rashod Bateman has a great future," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Yes, he runs great routes. He's developed into a great, great route runner, and I know Lamar wants to get him the ball as much as he can.

"I want 'Bate' to flourish and make a bunch of plays, and he's going to do that, and I think he'll be a bigger part of it next year, just by the fact that he was healthy all year this year [and] had a chance to establish himself that way, and he'll be starting. He'll be playing all those snaps, and he'll rise to the occasion."

Injuries were a major part of why Bateman's first two years in the league didn't reach the first-round pick's expectations. He entered this season not knowing whether he would be able to play at all after he said his foot wasn't responding as well following surgery. But Bateman suited up for 16 games and started 12.

Last offseason, with Bateman coming back from foot surgery, his health status was more in limbo. Now the Ravens can feel more confident about what he will bring in 2024, meaning they may not need as much of a wide receiver overhaul as last year.

"I love the guys we have coming back," General Manager Eric DeCosta said. "I think 'Bate' is going to have a great season, and we have Zay. We'll talk to guys and look at potentially bringing guys back, but I feel really good about where we are.

"We also saw the emergence of Isaiah Likely this year, and we know, of course, what Mark can do this year – Mark Andrews. We have a lot of guys that can make plays and, watching Zay this year and just picturing Zay and 'Bate' out there next year is very exciting, and we'll see where that leads. We've also got the Draft, and like I said, we'll have conversations with our free agents, as well, and we've already started those conversations in some cases. So, I would expect the receiver room to be very strong next year and very productive."

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