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A look at Ravens' options at wide receiver

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There's no question that the Ravens' priority is to upgrade at wide receiver. How they will accomplish this is a more open-ended matter.

 

The Ravens can take several different routes to improve the targets for Joe Flacco, from putting an offer sheet on a restricted free agent (perhaps the Denver Broncos' Brandon Marshall), signing an unrestricted free agent (like the Houston Texans' Kevin Walter) or trading for a consistent but unhappy veteran (the Arizona Cardinals' Anquan Boldin).

 

"I think having a playmaker on the outside will help Joe Flacco become a better quarterback," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said last month.

 

There seems to be a push this offseason for the Ravens to shake up this group of wide receivers, which has been a factor in the Ravens' finishing 18th in passing in 2009 and 28th in 2008. With free agency beginning Friday, the Ravens' receivers are Mark Clayton (a restricted free agent), recently signed Donte' Stallworth, Marcus Smith (a fourth-round draft pick in 2008) and Justin Harper (a seventh-round pick in 2008).

 

But an NFL source said the Ravens aren't willing to give up their first-round pick in this year's draft in a trade or for a restricted free agent at this point. The highest draft pick the Ravens ever considered dealing for a wide receiver was a second-rounder for Terrell Owens in 2004.

 

Here's a look at the Ravens' options:

 

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/ravens/bal-sp.ravens03mar03,0,2182419.story

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This is off-topic but with Cromartie on the block what does everyone think about going after him in a trade? San Diego needs RB's and is looking to deal him so would they be interested in McGahee and a 2nd rounder? I sure would be.

 

We talked about this a week or two ago, when Cromartie hit the trading block. My conclusion was that there was virtually no chance of it happening, but that it would be a huge trade for us.

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"The Ravens will have to be selective buyers in free agency. As one of the final eight teams in an uncapped season, the Ravens can sign one unrestricted free agent for $5.8 million in year one of the contract before one of their free agents signs elsewhere."

 

This is news to me... so what exactly is the final 8 rule? I had no idea there were allowances in it...

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This is news to me... so what exactly is the final 8 rule? I had no idea there were allowances in it...

Basically, we are of the bottom four teams of the Final Eight (along with the Cowboys, Chargers, and Cardinals). We can sign ONE unrestricted free agent for over $5.8 million per year, and we can sign as many unrestricted free agents as we'd like for under $3.86 million in year one, with 30% growth each year thereafter.

 

The top four teams (Saints, Vikings, Jets, Colts) can only sign an unrestricted free agent after one of their own unrestricted free agents is signed by another team.

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Basically, we are of the bottom four teams of the Final Eight (along with the Cowboys, Chargers, and Cardinals). We can sign ONE unrestricted free agent for over $5.8 million per year, and we can sign as many unrestricted free agents as we'd like for under $3.86 million in year one, with 30% growth each year thereafter.

 

The top four teams (Saints, Vikings, Jets, Colts) can only sign an unrestricted free agent after one of their own unrestricted free agents is signed by another team.

 

This doesn't seem nearly as restrictive as I thought it was (at least for all but the final 4 teams). Do we normally sign that many guys to contracts over 4 million anyways? 1 big signing and a few smaller ones seems to be about what we'd need, anyway...

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Broncos opted to only give Marshall a 1st round tender instead of 1st & 3rd. Keeps that door open.

 

25 years old, three 100-reception seasons in a row, with different quarterbacks... very, very tempting. There's no way we could expect anything close to that from Benn, Thomas, Tate, or any guy we took at #25... and he's only a few years older than those guys anyway.

 

Without getting into the intangibles, this guy is exactly what you hope your top draft pick turns into in 2 or 3 years, except he's ready to go now.

 

*sigh* I'd have to do it.

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25 years old, three 100-reception seasons in a row, with different quarterbacks... very, very tempting. There's no way we could expect anything close to that from Benn, Thomas, Tate, or any guy we took at #25... and he's only a few years older than those guys anyway.

 

Without getting into the intangibles, this guy is exactly what you hope your top draft pick turns into in 2 or 3 years, except he's ready to go now.

 

*sigh* I'd have to do it.

 

I completely agree! I just saw this and this is a very interesting development. The Broncos only give a first round tender on Marshall? What this tells me is that they have set in their minds what they would take for him, and are almost baiting a team to make an offer on him. I mean the Chargers gave Floyd a first and third round tender! Like you said, Marshall is only 25-years old and is much better than anything that we could get in the first round. Make it happen Ozzie!!!!

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I'd infinitely rather sign Walter (for less money and less drama), and keep that first round pick for something else.

 

Marshall is absolutely worth a first round pick. And if someone else gets Walter (the only free agent receiver worth looking at right now), then getting him would make sense. But with a more suitable option on the table, I'd rather keep that first rounder.

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I completely agree! I just saw this and this is a very interesting development. The Broncos only give a first round tender on Marshall? What this tells me is that they have set in their minds what they would take for him, and are almost baiting a team to make an offer on him. I mean the Chargers gave Floyd a first and third round tender! Like you said, Marshall is only 25-years old and is much better than anything that we could get in the first round. Make it happen Ozzie!!!!

I would absolutely kill to have this guy on our team, if they tendered him a 1st rounder we can definitely work a sign and trade involving a 2nd rounder and some other piece.

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I'd infinitely rather sign Walter (for less money and less drama), and keep that first round pick for something else.

 

Marshall is absolutely worth a first round pick. And if someone else gets Walter (the only free agent receiver worth looking at right now), then getting him would make sense. But with a more suitable option on the table, I'd rather keep that first rounder.

 

Walter is hardly in the same league as Marhsall, but what if we traded for Marshall and signed Walter? This would allow Walter to suddenly slip into a very familar role of playing as a efficient #2 guy next to a superstar #1 receiver. Both Marshall and Walter are excellent blockers at receiver and would fit in very well with our run game. Clayton and Stallworth have different talents and both could be used as our #3 receiver, or in four-wide sets. Clayton can be that quick, slot guy (a role he should have been in the past few years), and Stallworth can be put in when we want to keep the defense honest or when we want someone to get some YAC on a drag or dig play (which is how the Pats effectively used Stallworth back in 2007). I do not know about you, but I would LOVE a receiving corp of:

 

1. Marshall

2. Walter

3a. Clayton

3b. Stallworth

5. Rookie?

 

Add in our offensive line, Ray Rice, Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain, and Todd Heap and Joe and Cam better make this thing work!

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It starting to heat up and get exciting.

 

The Broncos definately want to move Marshall...and they will.

 

Now..(if the Ravens want Marshall)....the Ravens are in competition with the teams who have an earlier first round pick. If those teams are in the NFC then that makes it even harder.

 

If Ozzie wants Marshall, then he might have to give up more in order to compete.

 

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Edited by vmax
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It starting to heat up and get exciting.

 

The Broncos definately want to move Marshall...and they will.

 

Now..(if the Ravens want Marshall)....the Ravens are in competition with the teams who have an earlier first round pick. If those teams are in the NFC then that makes it even harder.

 

If Ozzie wants Marshall, then he might have to give up more in order to compete.

 

football-4.gif

 

Actually max, this is where I think we have the advantage in having a late first round pick. For example, look at a team like the Seahawks that needs a WR. You think they want to give up the 14th pick for Marshall? A mid-first rounder is probably too much to give up for Marshall, but a late first rounder, that could be perfect compensation.

 

Also, Marshall is a restricted free agent. That means we do not have to trade for him, we can call his agent and negotiate a contract. So in effect, Marshall has all the leverage as to which team he signs with. So this could become a race between the Broncos finding the best offer for him or Marshall signing contract with the team he wants to play for.

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I agree! Now is the time to make our move for Marshall! Getting someone of his talent for the 25th pick in the draft is a no-brainer. With his talent and production he is worth a top 5 pick at this point! Did I mention he is only 25? We need to sign him to a 6 or 7 year deal and make this happen.

 

Furthermore, as an unrestricted FA...Kevin Walter should also be considered! He would be a beast as a #2 next to Marshall or a slot WR if we also retained Mason. Not to mention he is only 28 years old! So sick...think about it:

 

1. Marshall

2. Mason/Walter

3. Walter/Stallworth

4. Stallworth/Clayton

5. Clayton/Rookie

6. Rookie

 

I mean you can almost book the AFC championship game off that alone!

 

Now, what about McGahee and a 2nd or 3rd rounder for Cromartie? If we pulled that off with the above scenarios...we have one hell of a ball club overnight! Remember, Cromartie is only 25 years old too!

 

I know we don't like trading away draft picks and the Ravens are great at drafting, but to get elite players and positions of need who are still well in their prime if not there yet for a couple draft picks is a no brain decision. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think restricted FA acquisitions and trades have no restrictions as a "top 8" team as opposed to the UFA rules...right?

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Actually max, this is where I think we have the advantage in having a late first round pick. For example, look at a team like the Seahawks that needs a WR. You think they want to give up the 14th pick for Marshall? A mid-first rounder is probably too much to give up for Marshall, but a late first rounder, that could be perfect compensation.

 

Also, Marshall is a restricted free agent. That means we do not have to trade for him, we can call his agent and negotiate a contract. So in effect, Marshall has all the leverage as to which team he signs with. So this could become a race between the Broncos finding the best offer for him or Marshall signing contract with the team he wants to play for.

 

 

Not all GM's are as smart as you cleetz... :)

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Marshall for a 1st = Ozzie get it done.

 

My reluctance to trade for Marshall before was the multiple draft picks that were being touted around. For only a 1st this is a no brainer when you consider his production, off set all the troubles and then take a look at the WRs that will be available to you in the first couple of rounds of the draft.

 

McGahee + a 2nd or 3rd rounder for Cromartie = FAIL. The Chargers will do well to get a 2nd round pick on its own for Cromartie. I would be in favour of the move if it was McGahee and a 5th or 6th round pick but nothing more.

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Now, what about McGahee and a 2nd or 3rd rounder for Cromartie?

 

Id pull that trigger in a NY second, yet Force would block it with his 1 highlight of Crom missing a tackle vs the Jets.

I'd block it because of exactly what RM just said. McGahee is probably worth more than Cromartie on his own; adding a second or third rounder in addition would be known as "getting raped".

 

And, by the way, that highlight showed two tackles-he-should-have-made-but-didn't (not to be confused with missed tackles, which require effort).

 

I never said I didn't want him, I just don't think he's this enormously valuable cog everyone thinks he is.

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