Since the end of the 2016 season, speculation has grown that the Ravens would be wanting to add more talent to the wide receiver squad, spearheaded by Mike Wallace. The Ravens missed out on taking a wide receiver in the NFL draft and then were not able to find any major free agent wide receivers to sign this offseason so far. Since tight end Dennis Pitta has dislocated his hip, the need for more playmaking wide receivers has now become very apparent to the Baltimore Ravens. Coincidentally, two new major wide receiver candidates have emerged since the unfortunate injury of Dennis Pitta. These receivers are Jeremy Maclin and Eric Decker.
Jeremy Maclin was released from the Kansas City Chiefs, just two years after joining the team on a 5 year, $55 million deal. He had previously been with the Philadelphia Eagles. Maclin has played primarily well throughout his career. However, he has had a history of injuries and was influenced by them in the 2016 season. This led to a bad season by his standards, receiving for just over 500 yards. The Chiefs, startled by this development, felt that they could no longer rely on Maclin. The Chiefs cut him, in order to free up salary cap space. Maclin is now the most highly sought-after free agent on the market, drawing interest from many teams. It remains unclear where he is going to sign. However, at the time of writing this article, Maclin is currently on a visit with the Bills, who have many coaches who coached him in Philadelphia, and is being recruited by LeSean McCoy, his offensive teammate in Philadelphia. Buffalo has much more salary cap room than the Ravens do to sing Maclin. They have about $12.3 million while the Ravens have roughly $4.3 million. This means they can give Maclin a much bigger check than the Ravens can currently. Maclin is scheduled to meet with Baltimore tomorrow, Wednesday, but it remains unclear whether or not he will make it there, as the Bills are pushing very hard to woo him over.
Eric Decker is a former Bronco, now with the New York Jets. The Jets have not yet gotten rid of Decker, but they plan to either release him or trade him away in the coming days. If Jeremy Maclin ends up elsewhere, Baltimore could very much make a realistic push to obtain Decker from New York. The Ravens will have to make some roster moves to obtain him via a trade, as his current average annual salary with the New York Jets is $7.3 million. Baltimore cannot currently afford to pay that, so a trade is less likely unless they lower some salaries or release some players. If Decker hits the open market, the Ravens have a much better shot chance at landing the receiver. Decker, 30, was injured for most of the 2016 campaign, leading some to question how much longer he will be able to play football if all for that matter. The Ravens can use this as leverage in negotiations with Decker, and convince him to take a lower salary with perhaps some incentive bonuses.
Either of these receivers would bring much-needed assistance to a strained Ravens wide receivers group. We have talked about it extensively in the past couple of weeks, but Mike Wallace is the only receiver that Joe Flacco can truly trust at this moment. The rest are all unproven. By bringing in a veteran receiver such as Maclin or Decker will be a major step forward for the Ravens offense. Only time will tell if the Ravens will snag either of these receivers, and we will just have to wait and see what happens.