Coming into the 2021 free agency, the biggest need for the Baltimore Ravens was to sign a No.1 wide receiver. Even with a limited cap room, the Ravens made bigger offers than the competition to Juju Smith Schuster and T.Y Hilton but struck out both times.
When Ravens GM Eric DeCosta was asked in January how he expected to land a big free agent WR, “I’ll just call on a line from The Godfather, ‘I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse,’” he said. 2 weeks into Free Agency, all the 5 star wide receivers have found homes, but none of them are in Baltimore.
The Baltimore Ravens offered a reported 1 year $9M dollar offer with another $4M in incentives to Juju Smith Schuster. But Juju signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a 1 year $8M contract. Similarly, T.Y Hilton resigned with the Colts on a 1 year $10M dollar deal even though the Ravens offered a multi-year contract with more guaranteed money
— NFL (@NFL) March 19, 2021
— NFL (@NFL) March 24, 2021
Why don’t WR’s want to come to the Baltimore Ravens?
The answer to this in all likeliness lies in the fact that the Ravens run an offence that is dominated by the run game. In 2020, the Ravens attempted only 406 passing attempts, which was the lowest by any team in 8 years. Lamar Jackson is arguably one of the biggest threats rushing the ball in the whole league, and on the back of his and the RB unit, the Baltimore Ravens produced two of the best rushing seasons in NFL history.
The Baltimore Ravens ranked No.1 in rushing but No.32 in passing offence in 2020. On the surface, the Ravens formula for dominating the game on the ground works. Ever since Lamar Jackson took over the starting QB job, the Ravens have won more games than any other team. But the organisation understand they need to become more balanced after failing to score more than 20 points in all of Jackson’s post-season losses.
🤣🤣y’all funny fr pic.twitter.com/A1TBIt3AhV
— Lamar Jackson (@Lj_era8) March 20, 2021
Ravens coach John Harbaugh has said he’s “not apologizing” for the team’s run-oriented philosophy and he’s not going to beg a wide receiver to come to Baltimore. “It’s just a tough sell to get a receiver to come to an offence where you’re blocking more than running go routes.”
“If you’re all about stats, and numbers, and your stat line, and how many balls you catch, necessarily, and that’s all you care for – then there’s a lot of other teams you can go play for, and we’ll be looking forward to lining up against you.’” You want to win? You want to be a part of a great organization, and you want to be a part of a team, and you want to love coming to work every single day, come here.
Can the Ravens win a Super Bowl with Lamar Jackson?
Ray Lewis has confidence that Lamar can, but says Baltimore has to surround him with the right receiving pieces first. pic.twitter.com/QKrLDzMuTT
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) March 25, 2021
Baltimore’s remaining options in Free Agency include Sammy Watkins. But if Watkins also decides to sign elsewhere, the Baltimore Ravens will have to deliberate using their first-round pick on a WR. Until the Ravens land a big-name target for Jackson, the question of whether wide receivers want to play in Baltimore will loom over the franchise.