The Ravens have agreed in principle to a two-year deal with veteran tight end Benjamin Watson.
It's a two-year deal worth $8 million, per NFL Media's Ian Rapoport.
The reports of the signing came out on Tuesday during the NFL's negotiating window, showing the Ravens were aggressive in acquiring Watson.
Baltimore has a need at tight end because of Nick Boyle’s 10-game suspension and starter Crockett Gillmore had offseason surgery on torn labrums in both of his shoulders, leaving his status at the start of the season in question.
That left rising second-year tight end Maxx Williams as the only sure bet in training camp. The Ravens have an offense predicated on the use of multiple tight ends.
Watson revived his career last season in New Orleans. The 35-year-old veteran caught 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns. It was the eighth-most receiving yards among NFL tight ends. He caught just 20 passes for 136 yards and two touchdowns the year before.
Watson is an unrestricted free agent, meaning he would count against the compensatory pick formula.
Watson was an original first-round pick of the New England Patriots in 2004. He has since bounced to the Cleveland Browns and Saints. The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Georgia product has long been a productive pass catcher. He has reputation for being durable, as he’s only missed one game in the last four seasons.
He’s also a proven leader who could help guide the Ravens’ young tight end corps. Gillmore is entering his third year while Williams and Boyle are rising sophomores.
Watson has built a reputation as one of the most high-quality character players in the league and was a finalist for the NFL’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, which was won by former Ravens receiver Anquan Boldin.