Ravens Need to Add Free Agents for Lamar Jackson
By: EJ Daniels
The Ravens have one of the more complete rosters in the league and have few holes on both sides of the ball. Although, in the AFC divisional matchup with Bills showed that the Ravens are sorely lacking weapons. Whether Lamar Jackson needs to play better or their just devoid of playmakers, this passing game specifically must be addressed in some way this off ”“season.
The 2021 Free agent class is filled WR/RBs that can help the Ravens offense be more explosive and efficient in the passing game, here are three free agents the Ravens should target:
Arguably, the most underrated WR in the NFL today. Robinson would instantly make the Ravens passing attack more potent due to his uncanny ability in contested catch situations. In the last two seasons he’s been PFF’s second highest graded WR in contested catch situations posting a 93.9 grade. Also, catching the most contested passes since 2019 at forty-nine.
In addition, to his contested catch ability he’s been one of the most consistent WRs overall. Since 2018, he’s been PFF’s eleventh highest graded WR. While, this year recording one drop on one hundred and fifty-seven targets which was the least amount by any WR with a hundred plus targets.
Since Lamar Jackson has been in BLT he hasn’t had that dominant WR who can lineup in the slot and on the outside. Since Jackson isn’t the most accurate QB (ranks 32nd out of 34 QBs in lowest percentage of accurate passes from a clean pocket since 2018) why not give him a top WR that can not only separate but give him room error in different situations? One of the things that has been seen across the league is that, giving a QB WRs who can separate and win against single coverage can make an astronomical difference in a QBs confidence and completion % i.e. (Josh Allen to Stefon Diggs)
Bringing in Robinson would help Baltimore’s incumbent pieces fall into place. Allowing WR Hollywood Brown to move to more of a WR two role allowing him to not have to see number one CBs week in week and out, encouraging Lamar Jackson to take more deep shots against one on one coverage with his four- three speed. Also, would let Mark Andrews go back into being that dominant big slot that he was two years ago when he led all TEs in TDs (10) and yards (698) from the slot
The X factor will be OC Greg Roman. One of his biggest criticism has been his lack of creativity in his passing concepts and structures. Getting Allen Robinson would certainly make his criticisms diminish, given Robison’s ability to win against single coverage from the slot and outside.
If the Ravens miss out on Robinson, Golladay needs to be their next call. At twenty-seven years of age, Golladay has been one of the most consistent WRs the past three seasons. Posting above average grades for PFF and also being dominant in contested catch situations. His fifty-three contested catches since 2018 is second among all WRs. Golladay posted a 93.0 grade on contested targets in 2019 and also recorded the most contested TDs catches with nine.
Where he adds value is his downfield ability. Golladay recorded six hundred and twenty-eight yards on twenty plus yard passes in 2019, while also recording the highest average depth of reception at fourteen yards. Golladay tied for the league lead in catches of twenty yards or more (16) and was second in deep TD catches with five.
Giving Lamar Jackson a weapon that can not only win in contested catch situations, but also win by creating separation downfield is invaluable.
Golladay can produce from any area on the football field which is not only hard to find in this league but also hard to replace. The deep threats of Hollywood Brown and Golladay could be dangerous off the play action with Mark Andrews being able to dominate underneath, similar to how the Chiefs use Travis Kelce
Golladay does come with his issues. Playing in only five games this season battling through nagging hamstring and groin issues. In addition, Golladay has put enough on tape to give optimism to the Ravens that he deserves franchise WR money. If Golladay can stay healthy he could be the prized gem of this free agency class.
This one is more of a longshot, but the prospects are intriguing. There hasn’t been a team that has ran the ball more the past three seasons than the Baltimore Ravens. Since the Ravens employ a run first approach why not double down on your strength and get yourself a solid RB to pair with JK Dobbins?
James Conner has been one of the more consistent backs the past three seasons only recording a PFF grade under seventy once in his career. At 6’1 233 Conner is the type of bruising compliment that would make the Ravens rushing attack more potent. Imagine a triple option read with Lamar Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and James Connor.
One of the biggest concerns about Conner is his injury history. The beauty of this move is that Conner wouldn’t have to be the bell cow back but you would still get high end production and an immediate upgrade over Mark Ingram with Conner only being twenty-five. Keeping him preserved for a playoff stretch, or still having a lead back if anything were to happen to J.K Dobbins.
His price tag also makes him an attractive option. He could command a contract worth ten million dollars in guaranteed money over three years. Given the Ravens cap situation that maybe a small price to pay to keep the core and strength of the team intact