The NFL offseason heats up on Tuesday when the free agency period begins and the NFL draft will take place next month. In anticipation of those events, blogger and reporter Matt Vensel will look at six key positions the Ravens might address in free agency and the NFL draft in the days leading up to the start of free agency.
The Ravens won their second Lombardi Trophy this winter thanks in large part due to the play of quarterback Joe Flacco, but let’s not forget about the speedy guys who were on the receiving end of all those tight spirals.
Veteran Anquan Boldin led all receivers in the postseason with 22 grabs for 380 yards and four touchdowns. Jacoby Jones scored long, critical touchdowns against the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. And Torrey Smith continued to be a vertical threat, averaging 21.2 yards per catch on 11 postseason receptions.
That group was good enough to win the Super Bowl this year, so there is reason to believe it would be good enough again in 2013, but a tight salary cap situation could prompt changes at the position this spring.
Where they stand: The Ravens have those top three wide receivers under contract right now. They also continued to give youngster Tandon Doss opportunities to make plays down the stretch last season, which says something about how they feel about him. But Boldin carries a cap hit of $7.5 million and the Ravens must give Jones a $1 million roster bonus on March 16 to keep him around, putting their futures in question.
Who’s out there: Teams with salary cap space and a need at wide receiver will have plenty of quality options to choose from. Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace, New England's Wes Welker and Green Bay's Greg Jennings all bring something different to the market, and there are other less-productive but less-expensive receivers available. The NFL draft is also stocked with wide receivers. While no prospects are being projected to crack the top 10 picks, a few, including former Dunbar and West Virginia standout Tavon Austin, could go in the first round, and there are several quality pass-catchers whom teams will covet in the second day of the draft.
Ravens offseason primer -- wide receivers
Baltimore Sun | Mar 7