The Baltimore Ravens have a wide receiver problem. This is nothing new, and it seems like every year we are saying the same things. “The Ravens need to add another wide receiver this year.” “The Ravens’ wide receiver corps is one of the worst in the league.” The Ravens have always understood the deficiency at wide receiver, but the team has never addressed it properly. It seems like every time the Ravens need to fill a major need in the receiver group, the team targets players they can sign cheap. This usually means older players on the edge of their prime. Don’t get me wrong, the Ravens have some added very good players through this method. Steve Smith Sr. was a solid receiver during his stint in Baltimore, and Mike Wallace is currently doing well with the team. Even Derrick Mason, Baltimore’s all-time leader in receptions, falls into this category.
Although the Ravens have found solid receivers through this strategy, the team cannot rely on it any longer. This approach only addresses the wide receiver position in the short term, and never the long. Steve Smith Sr. only stayed with the Ravens for three years. Mike Wallace is 31 and may be on the way out. Baltimore is lucky Wallace revived his career in Charm City. If Wallace had continued the trend of poor performances in Miami and Minnesota, the Ravens would have had no receivers to depend on in 2017. Jeremy Maclin best exemplifies the problem with targeting these type of players. Maclin was added to the Ravens after he was cut from the Chiefs. He was coming off a disappointing, injury-filled season. The Ravens got him comparatively cheap, only spending about $5.5 million per season on him. The move at the time seemed to be a smart one for the Ravens, but it ended up hurting the team.
Jeremy Maclin did not pan out for the Ravens. He sustained more injuries, and ultimately became the second most disappointing player in 2017. Number one, of course, is Breshad Perriman. Breshad Perriman is living proof that the Baltimore Ravens do not know how to draft wide receivers. Aside from Torrey Smith, the Ravens have never drafted a receiver that received for over 1,000 yards in a season with the team. The failures of Maclin and Perriman this year exposed the weaknesses in the Ravens receiver group and overall strategy. The team with the best General Manager in the league cannot be trusted to draft a wide receiver. The front office cannot keep putting a band-aid on a bullet wound, either, by saving cap space and signing cheap receivers. It will not solve this problem, which needs an immediate solution.
The only way the Baltimore Ravens can ensure wide receiver proficiency in 2018 is to break open the bank and spend some serious cash. Joe Flacco still has gas in the tank, and by not giving him weapons, the Baltimore Ravens are doing their franchise quarterback a major disservice. The defense is already built to win and showed it in 2017. For half of the season, the Ravens’ offense did nothing to contribute to the team. The lack of wide receivers was at the forefront of offensive difficulties. If the Baltimore Ravens want to compete in 2018, the team needs to get a reliable receiver that is actually going to strike fear in the eyes of opposing defenses. Jarvis Landry would make the most sense for the Ravens, and the team must pursue him. If Landry becomes unavailable, there are other options out there, including Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins.