OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens provided quarterback Joe Flacco with two new potential targets Wednesday, agreeing to terms with wide receivers Ryan Grant and John Brown on the first day of free agency.
Addressing a position that is a top priority this offseason, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome added a pair of 27-year-olds he hopes can improve a passing attack that last year ranked 27th in the NFL.
To help make room for the newcomers, Newsome freed an estimated $5 million in salary cap space by cutting receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Grant has played in 64 games, including 15 starts, with the Washington Redskins. The 2014 fifth-round draft pick out of Tulane set career highs in 2017 with 45 catches for 573 yards and four touchdowns.
Brown has played four NFL seasons, all with Arizona. Selected in the third round of the 2014 draft, Brown has 173 career catches for 2,515 yards and 17 TDs.
The contracts are pending the passing of physicals. Grant reportedly received a four-year contract and Brown agreed to a one-year pact.
The Ravens are counting on Grant to continue the improvement he showed last season. Though he has never had a 100-yard receiving game and has scored only six career touchdowns, he ranked second on the Redskins in 2017 in catches and TD receptions.
Brown’s best season was in 2015, when he had 65 catches for 1,003 yards and seven scores.
After a season in which Baltimore’s wideouts totaled 11 touchdown receptions, the team made no secret of its desire to bolster the receiving corps.
“We will be exploring all options in free agency and in the draft for targets for Joe (Flacco),” owner Steve Bisciotti said.
That was a focus last season, too, but Maclin did not live up to expectations.
Baltimore signed Maclin as a free agent in June, hopeful the accomplished pass catcher would regain the form he showed in 2015 with Kansas City, when he had 87 catches for 1,088 yards and eight touchdowns.
But Maclin missed two games with a shoulder injury, two more with knee issues, and finished with only 40 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns.
That, along with the poor performance of 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman (10 catches, 77 yards, no TDs), left the Ravens looking for speed outside after finishing 9-7 and missing the playoffs for a third straight season.
Mike Wallace, who had 52 catches for a team-high 748 yards in 2017, became a free agent Wednesday. It is unclear whether the Ravens will attempt to bring him back the 31-year-old, nine-year pro.
Newsome’s pursuit of top-tier free agent receivers has been hindered by a tight salary cap, which likely contributed to Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins signing with other teams.
In an effort to free up salary-cap space, Newsome earlier this week cut running back Danny Woodhead and did not pick up the option on right tackle Austin Howard.
Maclin, Woodhead and Howard were all acquired before the 2017 season.
Also on Wednesday, the Ravens extended tenders to seven exclusive-rights free agents, the most notable running back Alex Collins, the team’s leading rusher last year. The players still have to sign their tenders, but cannot negotiate with any other teams.
(© Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)