Ravens Have Third-Best Odds of Landing Terry McLaurin If He's Traded
The Ravens are among the favorites to acquire Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin if he is traded.
McLaurin, who is seeking a new deal as he enters the final year of his rookie contract, reportedly will skip the Commanders' minicamp, which begins today.
The Ravens are +450 to be McLaurin's next team, according to FOX Bet. Only the Indianapolis Colts (+200) and Green Bay Packers (+300) have better odds.
Those same three teams were named as potential trade partners for McLaurin by Riggo’s Rag’s Jerry Trotta a couple weeks ago.
It's not surprising to see the Ravens on the short list of favorites to land McLaurin. After trading top wide receiver Marquise Brown this offseason, Baltimore has a young and unproven wide receiving corps (Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay, James Proche II, Tylan Wallace).
That said, dealing for McLaurin would be an uncharacteristic move for the Ravens, whose philosophy has been to invest draft capital in wide receivers rather than spending big money on them. The approach makes sense given the Ravens' run-oriented offense.
The cost for McLaurin would be prohibitive, both in terms of what a team would have to give up and how much it would have to pay him. McLaurin reportedly is seeking a contract similar to top receivers such as A.J. Brown, who signed a four-year, $100 million contract extension with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason.
Ravens officials have expressed confidence in their young receivers, but if the team does make an addition at wide receiver, the more likely scenario is that it signs an affordable veteran in free agency.
McLaurin, a 2019 third-round pick, has 222 catches for 3,090 yards and 16 touchdowns in three seasons in Washington. Last season, he finished with 77 catches for 1,053 yards and five touchdowns. Brown posted similar numbers (91-1,008-6) for the Ravens last season.
Which Pass Rusher Is the Better Option: Jason Pierre-Paul or Justin Houston?
The Ravens reportedly had a good visit with veteran pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul last week, but Ebony Bird’s Justin Fried believes Justin Houston is the better option of the two 33-year-old players.
"Pierre-Paul hasn't been a reliable contributor in two years and is coming off a major injury," Fried wrote. "Meanwhile, Houston was a rock-solid contributor last season, is familiar with the system, and has no major recent injury history to speak of.
It was reported last month that the Ravens used the unrestricted free-agent tender on Houston, who played well in his first season in Baltimore last year. If Houston signs with a new team before July 22 or the first day of training camp, whichever is later, the signing would count toward the NFL's compensatory formula. If he doesn't sign by the deadline, Baltimore would retain exclusive negotiating rights at 110 percent of his 2021 salary, according to the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Ravens Wire’s Kevin Oestreicher did not weigh in on which player is the better fit, but he thinks signing Pierre-Paul would be a good move.
"Adding Pierre-Paul on a cheap one-year deal that could possibly allow the veteran to hit free agency again in 2023 seems like it would benefit both sides, as the Ravens would add a proven player at a position of need while the pass rusher would get the opportunity to rebuild some of his value that was lost during his injury-filled season last year," Oestreicher wrote.
Playing with a torn rotator cuff last season, Pierre-Paul was limited to 2.5 sacks in 12 games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He underwent surgery on his shoulder in February. In 2020, Pierre-Paul had 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, made the Pro Bowl, and helped the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl. From 2018–2020, he had 30.5 sacks in 42 games.
Houston had 4.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits in 15 games with the Ravens last season. He had 37.5 sacks in 59 games between 2017-2020.
Ravens' Offensive Line Has 'High-End Potential'
The Ravens bolstered their offensive line this offseason by selecting center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round and signing veteran offensive tackle Morgan Moses, but the unit landed in the middle of the pack (No. 17) in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings.
PFF's Michael Renner placed the Ravens' offensive line in the "high-end potential" group, citing the health of All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley as key to the unit's success.
"It's no coincidence that the last time we saw Lamar Jackson playing at an elite level was with Ronnie Stanley healthy," Renner wrote. "The tackle earned an 89.4 overall grade back in 2019 but has played only 380 snaps in the two seasons since. This line operates a lot differently with him in the mix."
There's obviously no question that Stanley, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 8 in 2020 and played just one game last season before undergoing a second ankle surgery, is a difference-maker.
The Ravens hope Stanley will be ready for Week 1. In the case that he isn't, the Ravens have solid options in Ja'Wuan James, Patrick Mekari and Tyre Phillips.