Ravens Among 5 Contenders ‘In Pursuit’ of Super Bowl WR: Report

Odell Beckham Jr.

Getty The Ravens are one of five contenders 'in pursuit' of a Super Bowl WR.

DeSean Jackson’s arrival may not be the only move the Baltimore Ravens make to bolster their wide receiver corps. Rashod Bateman’s season-ending foot injury means another addition is possible, especially since a Super Bowl-winning pass-catcher is still a free agent.

The controversial, three-time Pro-Bowler is expected to be pursued heavily by as many as five teams now the NFL’s trade deadline has passed. One national reporter has named the Ravens among the quintet of playoff contenders sure to run the rule over this five-time 1,000-yard receiver.

Ravens Have Competition for Big Name

Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t find a new home before the league’s trade deadline on November 1. Now the trading period has ended, FanSided’s national NFL reporter Matt Verderame signaled the start of “Beckham watch,” a process that will involve the Ravens.

Verderame’s list of other suitors shows strong competition if the Ravens are serious about signing Beckham. The ninth-year pro has obvious ties to the Los Angeles Rams after helping the NFC West franchise win the 2022 Super Bowl.

Beckham could be tempted by a reunion the Rams surely crave while the defending champions flounder at 3-4. That’s assuming the chance to play with an elite quarterback like Aaron Rodgers for the Green Bay Packers doesn’t prove more appealing.

Speaking of appealing, Beckham might leap at the chance to play for two teams whose Super Bowl credentials are as strong as those of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. If the Bills are the most talented team in the AFC, then the Chiefs are a close second, and it would surprise nobody if they faced off in this season’s conference title game.

Of course, the Ravens will have a thing or two to say about that, especially if general manager Eric DeCosta can equip franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson with a marquee wideout. The need for the latter has only grown since Bateman was ruled out for the rest of the campaign.

Rashod Bateman Injury a Dilemma for Ravens

When Bateman’s season was ended by surgery, the Ravens lost the lone true field-stretcher among their wide receivers. The second-year man was beginning to join the best in the game at getting vertical, according to PFF BAL Ravens:

Bateman’s development has been interrupted at a crucial time, leaving the Ravens to hope 35-year-old Jackson still has some tread on the tires in his 16th pro season. It’s a risk worth taking since Jackson has been a consistent deep threat throughout his career, but there’s no doubt his best days are behind him.

Jackson’s career is at a different kind of crossroads. He’s only approaching his peak, one reason why the 25-year-old would be coveted by all but a few teams around the league if he can’t agree a new deal with the Ravens.

DeCosta can slap the franchise tag on Jackson, but the QB won’t reach his full potential in Baltimore without a legitimate go-to target on the outside. So far, the Ravens have tried to cover for the absence of a premier flanker with an offense structured to rely on other positions, per Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun, citing statistics from TruMedia:

Coordinator Greg Roman’s throwback, run-first formula is effective, but it will only take these Ravens so far. Jackson and Co. won’t get past the Bills or the Chiefs playing small ball.

What Jackson needs is a sure-handed speedster who can win over the middle, go long and make tough catches in decisive moments. Beckham, who turned 30 on Saturday, November 5, still fits the bill, despite tearing his ACL in last season’s Super Bowl.

He only needed seven starts to tally 305 yards and five touchdowns last season, before scoring twice in the playoffs. Beckham’s postseason run included catching a touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl after he’d amassed nine grabs for 113 yards against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game.

The Ravens need a receiver talented enough to make defenses think twice about loading the box against a Jackson-led running game and clamping down on tight ends Mark Andrew and Isaiah Likely.

Beckham is the obvious answer as the headline name still available on the veteran market. It’s not like the Ravens to delve too heavily into free agency, but beating the competition to Beckham would push this team over the top.

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