Ravens Named Ideal Fit for Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. is the top wide receiver still available in free agency, and it's widely believed the Ravens will sign a veteran wide receiver before the start of the regular season.
Therefore, it's not surprising that the Ravens were named as the best fit for the three-time Pro Bowler by NFL.com's Marc Ross.
"Greg Roman said last week that Lamar Jackson is throwing as well as he's ever seen him throw, but the former MVP needs more weapons," Ross wrote. "I know the Rams want OBJ back, but he could be the missing piece in Baltimore, someone who could help Jackson take the next step as a passer. Beckham is recovering from an ACL tear suffered in the Super Bowl. But with the Ravens boasting an exceptional run game and tight end, Beckham could play a role like he had with the Rams last season - one in which he doesn't have to be The Guy, but can contribute as a big-play threat who consistently moves the chains."
Beckham reportedly is not expected to be ready to play until October at the earliest, which is another reason why Ross thinks Baltimore is the ideal destination for him.
"This gives him time to actually heal, just because of the Ravens' run-based offense, Lamar making plays," Ross said on NFL Network. "Get Odell ready for the stretch run."
Scott Pioli 'Really Impressed' With How Lamar Jackson, Ravens Are Handling Contract Negotiations
Lamar Jackson's contract situation is one of the most talked-about subjects in the NFL, but any speculation by pundits on the topic is exactly that. That's because Jackson and the Ravens are keeping the talks private.
NFL Network analyst and former NFL executive Scott Pioli praised the quarterback and the team for the way they've handled negotiations on a contract extension that could make Jackson the highest-paid player in the league.
"I know [General Manager] Eric DeCosta well and I know Lamar, and I had a chance to sit with them on-air but also on the side, and as one source said to me, they're very optimistic that a deal can be reached," Pioli said. "And when I've watched, and I've talked to them on and off the record, and when you're off the record sometimes, people try to drop things out there. Neither side, meaning Eric DeCosta and the front office and [John] Harbaugh, no one is trying to leak information out there to create leverage publicly to get the other side to do anything. When you talk to Lamar, he's doing the same thing. They're all keeping things very tight, very respectful, and sometimes that's the best way that business can get done. Neither team is trying to drop a nugget in order to out-leverage the other side.
"So to me, I think everyone knows this: Lamar is going to get paid. He's been sitting still, waiting because high tides are raising all boats. He's going to get paid; he knows it. There was no reason for him to sign a deal in February, March or April because there was no risk. As he sat there, his price has gone up. And the bottom line is the Baltimore Ravens never got upset or got frustrated because they know that they have to pay the player and they're willing to pay the player. I'm really impressed with how both sides are handling this situation."
Pundit Predicts Monster Year for Jackson, Notes Wide Receivers Have Chip on Their Shoulders
The reason Beckham and other free-agent wide receivers such as Will Fuller V are constantly being linked to the Ravens is because the majority of pundits aren't sold on the team's young wide receiving corps. Roman told NFL Network's Mike Giardi that they will use that perception to their advantage.
"[Roman] said, 'Why don't you go write that you guys aren't real sure about what we have and if you're confident in us because we'll take that, we'll write it down, we'll put it on the bulletin board and we'll go prove you wrong,'" Giardi said. "There is a chip on the shoulders of the wide receivers, their quarterback. They want to prove to you that they are internally who they think they are, which is one of the best units in the National Football League."
Giardi is not among those underestimating the Ravens' passing game. After observing practice yesterday, he tweeted "Lamar is poised for a monster year."
Justice Hill Is 'Quietly Building Momentum'
While most of the focus regarding the Ravens' running backs this offseason understandably has been on the progress of J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, who suffered a season-ending Achilles tear last year, has been quietly building momentum in his bid to secure a roster spot, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
"He's looked quick, showing no signs of the Achilles tear that sidelined him all last season," Zrebiec wrote. "He's also caught quite a few balls out of the backfield. In Tuesday's practice, Hill caught an option pitch and then made a quick spin move. The play didn't get much in the way of yardage, but it certainly showcased Hill's athleticism."
Hill, a 2019 fourth-round pick, is competing with veterans Mike Davis and Corey Clement, rookie Tyler Badie, and Nate McCrary.
● Sharp Football Analysis looks at the instant-impact rookies in the AFC North.