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Rob Long: A Few Potential Free Agency Receivers For The Ravens

It seems to be a routine of the Baltimore Ravens to look for a veteran free agent wide receiver ever three or four years to make up for not addressing the need for a number one pass catcher through the NFL Draft.

Here we are again, looking for someone to catch the ball for Joe Flacco.

Yes, there are plenty of candidates in house who can contribute to Joe’s career low 6.4 yard per attempt but the Ravens are trying to escape those numbers. They would like to resemble a modern day NFL offense that can go downfield and run multiple routes on the route tree.

Do the Ravens go back to the Draft to find that player? Is Breshad Perriman that man just waiting to get a real chance at being the “go to” guy? These are the “unknowns” as we approach mid-March.

What we do know is that there are receivers available in free agency and here are some of the candidates:

Terrelle Pryor

The once stud recruit for Ohio State as a multi-talented quarterback, the 28 year old has converted to a productive NFL wide receiver. Pryor went into the 2016 season with a grand total of two NFL receptions but finished the year with 77 while compiling 1,007 yards and four touchdowns.

The biggest question mark for Pryor is whether or not he can duplicate his success? The other question is whether or not he’s that “number one” receiver that teams are looking for or if he’s a complimentary guy? I would be very careful of inking Terrelle Pryor to a contract that’s worthy of a commitment to a stud pass catcher.

Alshon Jeffrey

Okay, he’s from the University of South Carolina. I have to put my bias aside and look at it for what it’s worth. I also have to ignore the fact that I’ve asked Eric DeCosta to PLEASE add a Gamecock or two every now and then to the roster and he’s completely ignored me.

Now, while Alshon has clearly been more productive than Pryor, I still question whether he’s a “number one” guy. His best numbers where when he was the complimentary receiver to Brandon Marshall when he put up years with 89 and 85 receptions respectively. Those were also his best touchdown years with the Chicago Bears.

In Jeffrey’s defense, he was healthy those years as well. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if I can use that to defend him. I can also use that to question whether Alshon Jeffrey can stay healthy or not since he hasn’t played more than 12 games since 2014.

There’s a lot that I about Alshon Jeffrey, but there are some red flags as well. I can say for sure I’m more willing to invest long-term in Jeffrey than I am in Pryor.

Pierre Garcon

Alright, I’ll admit it, I’m ALL IN with Pierre Garcon. I’ve liked him since his days with the Indianapolis Colts. He did nothing to change my mind about him in his five years in Washington. He posted 113 receptions in 2013 and followed those years up with solid numbers before the Redskins finally settled in with a steady quarterback.

I don’t consider Garcon to be a guy who can stretch the field but he’s certainly a player who can come up with the big catches and move the chains for Flacco and company.

He will be 31 years old in August, but Garcon has proven to be durable playing in every game since 2013.

UPDATE: Garcon is expected to finalize a deal with the 49ers. Garcon can’t finalize his deal until Thursday, March 9 at 4 p.m. He’s believed to make $16 million in his first year.

There are other wide receivers in free agency but none are candidates for number one status. Torrey Smith is a fan favorite and is now available. The team could kick the tires again, but Smith doesn’t address the need for that stud.

One thing is certain, Joe Flacco needs that “go to” play maker.

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