During the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Ravens traded receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and a third-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for a 2022 first-round draft pick (No. 23 overall).
That trade certainly surprised Ravens fans, who expected Brown to lead the wide receiver group in 2022. Following that trade, Baltimore’s receiving corps is headlined by Rashod Bateman, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II. Those three receivers have combined for 1,204 receiving yards and three touchdowns during their careers.
Should the Ravens be comfortable with this young and unproven receiving corps, even considering the run-heavy nature of the offense? NFL experts understand the Ravens’ front office has to make some unconventional decisions because Baltimore is not the most attractive spot for a wide receiver and the price of receivers has skyrocketed.
“A team is never going to be perfect, and this is one area that it’s just not going to be,” NBC Sports’ Chris Simms said on Glenn Clark Radio May 3. “Receivers are not going to be knocking on the door to go, ‘Oh, let me come there and play and watch Lamar Jackson run around. Yes, awesome.’ They’re going to probably be on a team that’s going to have to take a different approach if they’re going to continue to play this style of football.”
The Ravens drafting two tight ends in the 2022 NFL Draft — even though they have a top five tight end in the league in Mark Andrews — could be a sign that Baltimore’s front office realizes that. Drafting Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar and Coastal Carolina tight end Isaiah Likely could mark an adjustment by the team.
“Maybe they realize there’s an issue with the receiver thing — the offense, Lamar Jackson, receivers not wanting to go there,” Simms said. “Maybe that’s why they drafted two unbelievable pass-catching tight ends … later in the draft. Maybe that’s the route they’re going to go.”
Ravens fans could easily wonder how the team did not trade for or sign a proven veteran wide receiver, especially considering the number of receivers who were available this offseason. However, from the front office’s perspective, spending a lot of resources on a receiver may not have made a lot of sense.
The Ravens have not signed quarterback Lamar Jackson to a long-term deal, creating some uncertainty of what his cap numbers may be in the future.
“They didn’t do anything in the offseason,” DraftKings analyst Mike Golic said on Glenn Clark Radio May 2. “I mean, look at all the receivers that were out there making moves. Look what Philly then does on draft day, getting A.J. Brown from Tennessee. There were wide receivers to be had but then you had to pay them, so that had to happen, and you know you have to pay Lamar at some point. They need help at wide receiver and there was an offseason that had more than a few out them there, so they were out-aggressived by somebody else.”
The Ravens’ chances of getting another receiver were also hurt by the large contracts commanded by wide receivers this offseason. Christian Kirk did not post a 1,000-yard season in his first four years with Arizona, but he signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
When A.J. Brown was traded to the Eagles on draft night, he immediately signed a four-year, $100 million contract extension with Philadelphia. Similarly, when Davante Adams was traded to the Raiders from the Packers, he signed a five-year, $140 million contract extension with Las Vegas.
Wide receivers are becoming much more expensive, and the Ravens are learning that the hard way.
“In the span of a few months, the price of a premium receiver has gone from $20 million to $30 million, like in a matter of weeks,” NBC Sports’ Peter King said Glenn Clark Radio May 2. “So there’s a lot of teams that cannot adjust to that and don’t have the cap flexibility to do that and it causes them to lose a guy. It makes sense to bemoan that and to basically say, “Man, this stinks,’ but what are you going to do?”
For more from Simms, listen to the full interview here:
For more from Golic, listen to the full interview here:
For more from King, listen to the full interview here:
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