Robert Griffin III: Ravens 'Don't Need a True No. 1 Wide Receiver' to Compete for Super Bowl
The Ravens' activity at the trade deadline has largely elicited mixed emotions from Ravens fans. There was elation over the acquisition of star linebacker Roquan Smith, and disappointment over not acquiring a wide receiver.
Whether the Ravens need a "true No. 1 wide receiver" to make a deep playoff run has been debated for years and doesn't appear to be subsiding any time soon. ESPN analyst and former Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III is firmly in the camp that believes Baltimore has enough weapons in the passing game to compete for a championship.
Griffin pointed to how Lamar Jackson successfully spread the ball around in the second half of last week's win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when top pass-catchers Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman were out with injuries.
"They found out, hey, Mark Andrews isn't there, we got Isaiah Likely, he can go out and make plays for us. They don't need a true No. 1 wide receiver," Griffin said. "But they've also got DeSean Jackson there at the receiver position with the other guys going down, that's going to really help as well."
For argument's sake, let's say the Ravens were interested in trading for a wide receiver at the deadline. As Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Monday when asked if he anticipated the Ravens making any trades, "it takes two to tango."
The three big-name wide receivers who were rumored to be on the trade block (DJ Moore, Brandin Cooks, Jerry Jeudy) all stayed put. The only wide receiver traded was Chase Claypool, who the Pittsburgh Steelers sent to the Chicago Bears for a 2023 second-round pick.
Three Free-Agent Wide Receivers Who Might Make Sense for Ravens
Don't expect the chatter about the Ravens adding another established wide receiver to go away just because the trade deadline has passed. There are still some established wide receivers out there in free agency.
Ebony Bird’s Justin Fried identified three free-agent wide receivers who might make sense for the Ravens:
Odell Beckham Jr.
"Beckham is still working his way back from a torn ACL he suffered at the end of last season, but once he's healthy, he figures to provide a major boost to some team's receiving corps. Why not the Ravens? … Assuming he's healthy, Beckham is the most impactful move the Ravens can make at the wide receiver position. There will be no shortage of interested teams, but Beckham is the way to go if the Ravens are looking for an upgrade."
Will Fuller V
"Fuller has battled injuries his entire career and it's what's derailed his NFL journey to this point. The former Notre Dame star has played in more than 11 games just once in his career, that coming in his rookie season. … The Ravens have been missing a dynamic deep threat in their offense since the departure of Marquise Brown. and Fuller would fill that role (along with practice squad member DeSean Jackson). Relying on him to stay healthy for the remainder of the season might not be wise, but he might be worth the gamble given the receivers the team is currently working with."
"The last time we saw Hilton was last season in Indianapolis where he was a shell of his former self. The 32-year-old played in just 10 games due to injury and finished with a career-low 331 yards on just 23 catches. How much does Hilton have left in the tank? Who knows. But he might be worth a flyer if he's willing to consider playing this year."
Ravens Named Biggest Winners at Trade Deadline
The general consensus among pundits is that the Ravens' acquisition of Smith was one of the most impactful deadline trades. NFL.com's Dan Hanzus took a step further by declaring the Ravens as the biggest winners at the deadline.
Hanzus believes the addition of Smith, combined with the Cincinnati Bengals not making any deals, greatly enhanced the Ravens' chances of winning the AFC North.
"The Bengals lost star receiver Ja'Marr Chase for a number of weeks to a hip injury, lost cornerback Chidobe Awuzie to a knee injury, lost Monday Night's game to the Browns and didn't make any acquisitions Tuesday," Hanzus wrote. "Baltimore holds a one-game lead in the division, has a head-to-head win against Cincinnati already in its pocket and doesn't play another team all season that currently has a winning record.
"In terms of whose outlook appears significantly improved from a week ago, the Ravens are the first team that jumped to my mind."