Sometimes, the lead-up to a potential marriage is that simple. Who needs an extended wooing process or a lavish wedding ceremony/lucrative contract/press conference?
Not only did the Ravens trade Marquise Brown during the 2022 NFL Draft, but they didn’t use any of their 11 selections on a receiver. If the two-time Super Bowl champions intend on adding depth before training camp opens in July, their best options will likely be older receivers seeking one-year deals and hoping to keep their careers alive.
Does Landry, who turns 30 in November, make sense for the Ravens? Much of that depends on what the six-time AFC North champions are looking for in a receiver.
Pros: Landry isn’t a deep threat, which could make him a perfect fit in the Ravens’ offense
Too often in sports, fans believe their teams need to sign the best free agents in terms of talent rather than fit. There’s a reason why organizations like the New York Jets and Washington Commanders, who often spend big in free agency, still wind up picking early in the draft.
Let’s apply this premise to the Ravens. One might believe Baltimore needs the best receivers on the market, whether it’s a free agent or giving up assets for San Francisco 49ers star Deebo Samuel, if they’re to ensure a return to the postseason and a third AFC North title in five years next fall.
Instead, Landry fits exactly what the Ravens should need in a new weapon for Lamar Jackson.
Although Landry is about to enter his age-30 season and missed time last season with a knee sprain, he’s not a receiver who is going to beat teams with speed or explosive plays. The 5-foot-11, 196-pound LSU product will instead beat teams with his hands, vision, and route-running. He’ll turn a short slant pass into a first down and move the chains rather than run downfield and have at least one 20-yard catch each week.
If Brown is a home run hitter, Landry is an efficient batter who hits singles and draws walks. What he lacks in big plays, he more than makes up for in keeping drives alive.
Cons: Baltimore might prefer to have a more explosive (and younger) receiver getting the snaps
In fairness, this “con” applies to other big-name receivers who are still on the free-agent market. As of publication, the likes of Cole Beasley, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. all joined Landry on the unemployment line. Each of those three is either over 30 right now or will leave their 20s behind later this year.
Then, there’s the Ravens’ current crop of receivers.
Baltimore used a first-round pick on Rashod Bateman last year and selected Devin Duvernay and James Proche in the 2020 draft. After missing the beginning of the season with a groin injury, Bateman totaled 46 catches, 515 yards, and a touchdown in 12 games and four starts. The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Duvernay, who earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors last year for his prowess on kick returns, owns 53 catches, 473 yards, and two touchdowns in two seasons.
Former Oklahoma State standout Tylan Wallace, a fourth-round pick in 2021, only hauled in two catches for 23 yards as a rookie. Baltimore also signed five receivers, including Alabama’s Slade Bolden (42 catches, 408 yards, and three touchdowns in 2021) and Mississippi State’s Makai Polk (105 receptions, 1,046 yards, and nine scores last season), following the draft.
No one is suggesting Wallace will become a Pro Bowl selection in 2021, nor are we guaranteeing Bolden will make the roster and become one of Jackson’s favorite targets. However, Baltimore might prefer to develop the younger receivers rather than potentially give their snaps to Landry, Jones, or an older player.
Should the Ravens sign Landry?
Before the Ravens consider signing Landry, they need to ask themselves what his role would realistically be next season. Do they envision him as a starter? Is he someone who will come off the bench as a rotational option?
As simple as it is, the Ravens need to make an honest determination regarding Landry’s potential fit. There have been too many instances in NFL history of older players signing deals because they envisioned one role, and then asking for a trade or release midway through the season or contract when it’s apparent that reality had a different assignment in mind.
Yes, I do believe Landry and the Ravens make sense for one another if they plan on giving him a legitimate role in the offense. It would be foolish to sign Landry and only bring him off the bench for 10 snaps per game.
Although Beckham and Jones might be more attractive fits in terms of name recognition, Landry fits what the Ravens need in an older receiver. And yes, 29 going on 30 is old in the NFL. It’s a tough business.