Former Ravens TE Agrees to Contract With Vikings: Report

Former Ravens TE Josh Oliver

Getty Former Ravens TE Josh Oliver has reportedly agree to terms to stay in purple with Vikings.

After having their consecutive years being awarded a compensatory pick pick snapped this year, the Baltimore Ravens are already well on their way to be in line for one or more in 2024.

They had a pair of fifth-year pros agree to terms on notable multi-year contracts on the first day of the legal tampering period. While interior offensive lineman Ben Powers was widely expected to cash in after his breakout season in 2022 after he started all 17 games at left guard and was excellent in pass protection, the same can’t be said for tight end Josh Oliver.

Accororing to a report from’s Mike Garafolo, the former third round pick of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019 who the Ravens acquired in 2021 in a trade for a conditional late round pick agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings on a three-year deal worth $21 million with $10.75 million guaranteed and could reach up to $24 million with incentives.

Both players played roles that fly under the radar and often go under appreciated by fans but are clearly  highly valued by coaches and front office decision makers. Oliver quietly had a breakout season of his own and like Powers, he made a profound impact as blocker.

In his fourth season the former San Jose State University product beat long odds to earn a roster spot with the way he impressed the Ravens coaching staff during training camp and the preseason. He then went on to blossom into a complete player at the position, quickly usruped veteran Nick Boyle for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart, and by the end of the season had established himself as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.

While his prowess as a blocker isn’t appreciated by the common fan, it is integral to running the ball in multiple different scheme including power and zone. With Vikings’ head coach Kevin O’Connell being a Sean McVay deciple, being able to run the ball efficiently is key to their play action passing game so having high quality blockers at tight end that can serve as an extra lineman on the end of the line is put more at a premium.

Josh Oliver Is Underrated as a Pass Catcher

Even though he didn’t put up gaudy receiving stats during his breakout season, he possesses the ability to contribute in the passing game as a target and not just as an extra blocker at the end of the line. In limited opportunities with the Ravens, Oliver came down some nice grabs where he made great adjustments to the ball and dove and corralled the ball before it  could hit the ground.

He played in every game for the first time in his career after struggling with injuries at it’s onset and finished with career-highs across the board in targets (25), receptions (14), receiving yards (149), and even caught his first two career touchdowns according to Pro Football Reference.

His best game as a pass catcher came against his former team in Week 12 where he caught 4 of his 6 targets for a career single-game high of 76 recieving yards and a go-ahead in the fourth quarter touchdown.

Oliver is not going to be a threat to the playing time or future of two-time Pro Bowler T.J. Hockenson in Minnesota but rather a nice complement that provides an upgrade at their No. 2 tight end spot over Irv Smith who was taken in the same draft class and is slated to hit the open market come Wednsday.

Wide Receiver Market Surprisingly Quiet 

This is the position that the Ravens need the most this offseason is typically among the first to have the top available options on the open market get snatched up and often overpaid. However, one of the biggest surprises of the legal tampering period thus far has been the lack of news of impending free agent wideouts agreeing to terms to deals and finding new homes elsewhere.

There were more notable contracts agreed to at devalued positions such as tight end, safety, and off-ball linebacker on Monday, March 13, 2023, than at wide receiver. The only deal involving a wideout of note was Sterling Shepard agreeing to terms to remain with the New York Giants on a one-year deal worth a measly $1.165 million according The MMQB’s Albert Breer.

While this doesn’t bode well for the young and veteran players seeking lucrative contracts an new homes, it bodes well for a team like the Ravens who have a glaring need at the position. By releasing six-time Pro Bowler Calais Campbell, the free up enough cap space be not be over when the new league year officially begins and with a few restructures, they might be able to clear enough to make a notable addition at wide receiver.

All of the top available prominent, mid-tier, and lesser known commodities at the position are still there to be had including several of the options that the Ravens have been tabbed as good fits for. One receiver that former No. 1 overall pick and retired NFL quarterback, David Carr, said he’d love to see go to Baltimore on the set of NFL Total Access was DJ Chark.

The former second round pick of the Jaguars in 2018 out of LSU has a Pro Bowl, a 1,000-plus-yard season, and 18 career touchdowns under his belt. He’s coming off a down year with the Detroit Lions in 2022 but showed that he can still make big plays and stretch the field with average of 16.7 yards per catch according to PFR.

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