Kevin Eck Ravens Reportedly Interested in Odell Beckham Jr.; Which Other Free-Agent Receivers Are Left?
Upgrading at wide receiver is a priority for the Ravens this offseason, but several of the top free agents at the position are off the board and the team has yet to make a move.
However, Baltimore reportedly is in the mix for the best available free-agent wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. According to The Score's Jordan Schultz, the Ravens, Chiefs, and Cowboys are among the teams interested in signing Beckham.
Beckham, 31, missed all of last season after undergoing his second ACL surgery in February. The three-time Pro Bowler (2014-2016) last had a 1,000-yard in 2019, when he was playing for a Cleveland Browns offense led by Todd Monken, the Ravens' new offensive coordinator.
"I really like Odell. Odell is super athletic, twitchy. He] really likes football. I really did [like him]," [Monken said at his introductory press conference last month. "I think he's tremendously skilled, and I like his personality. He likes to compete."
Free-agent wide receivers who are no longer available include: Jakobi Meyers, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Michael Thomas, Allen Lazard, Darius Slayton, and Parris Campbell.
Behind Beckham, the best free-agent wide receivers still out there include D.J. Chark, Adam Thielen, Mecole Hardman, Jarvis Landry, and Marvin Jones Jr.
As always, the Ravens will be looking for the right player at the right price, so it's encouraging that the wide receiver deals thus far haven't been exorbitant. The Jets' Lazard got the richest contract, which reportedly was for $44 million over four years. Meyers (Raiders) and Smith-Schuster (Patriots) both signed for a reported $33 million over three years. That's $11 million per year average for all three top wide receivers.
Two big-name receivers reportedly on the trade market who the Ravens might target are the Cardinals' DeAndre Hopkins and Broncos' Jerry Jeudy.
NFL Network's Jane Slater said Hopkins "absolutely wants to come to Dallas," but no trade is imminent. As for Jeudy, Denver's asking price is "at least a first-round pick," according to The Athletic's Jeff Howe.
Jeudy is an intriguing option. He's only 23, coming off his best season (67 catches, 972 yards, six touchdowns in 15 games), and would count just $2.6 million against the cap. But would the Ravens be willing to give up a first-round pick (and more)?
It's widely believed the Ravens will draft a receiver in the first round, but Jeudy has already shown that he can be a playmaker in the NFL. On the other hand, a contract extension for Jeudy won't be cheap. Four years of salary for a rookie receiver obviously would give the Ravens significantly more money to address other needs.
Re-Signing Geno Stone Was 'Quietly Important Move'
Not all offseason moves are splashy, but that doesn't mean they aren't significant. While the Ravens have yet to sign an outside player in free agency, they have retained several key players either by re-signing them or restructuring their contracts.
Yesterday, the Ravens re-signed long snapper Nick Moore and reportedly re-signed reserve safety Geno Stone after not giving them a tender the day before.
Stone started a career-high seven games last season and is a valuable player on special teams. With the trade of Chuck Clark, Stone becomes the top backup to starters Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams.
"Stone's decision to return on a one-year deal Thursday was quietly an important move for the Ravens," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "If they lost both Clark and Stone, they may have had to move [cornerback Brandon] Stephens full time to safety or add a safety either in free agency or the draft."
Zrebiec noted that Moore, a second-team All-Pro last season, "came close to signing with another team," and his return allows the Ravens to maintain continuity with their kicking trio.
The Ravens also were able to keep their running back trio intact, which is somewhat surprising. Gus Edwards was viewed as a potential cap casualty, but he reportedly restructured his contract. They also re-signed Justice Hill, who averaged a career-high 5.3 yards per carry last season and is a top special teams player.
"[J.K.] Dobbins, Edwards and Hill are another year removed from significant injuries, so it has the makings of a solid trio," Zrebiec wrote.
In addition to those moves, the Ravens reportedly restructured the contracts of guard Kevin Zeitler and nose tackle Michael Pierce.