Ravens Host Former 1st-Round Wide Receiver for Visit

Patriots WR Nelson Agholor

Getty Free agent WR Nelson Agholor was brought in for a visit by the Ravens.

The new league year officially began on Wednesday, March 15, 2023, and teams were allowed to negotiate and agree to terms two days prior during the legal tampering period that started on March 13.

Through the first almost full week of free agency, the Baltimore Ravens are one of two teams that have yet to sign any outside free agents that played for another team or didn’t have one in 2022 with the Jacksonville Jaguars being the other.

On Friday, March 17, 2023, they brought in former second-round cornerback Rock Ya’Sin for their first free agent visit, and on Monday, March 20, they hosted former first-round wide receiver, Nelson Ahgholor, for their second according to the league transaction wire.

The eight-year veteran most recently played with the New England Patriots for the past two seasons after signing a two-year deal worth $22 million in the 2021 offseason. He was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft out of USC where he spent the first five years of his career and won a Superbowl in 2017 before spending the 2020 season with the Las Vegas Raiders.

Agholor Can be a Difference at a Discount

Once and still labeled a bust by the rabid and unforgiving sports town that is Philidelphia, the former top 20 overall pick has proven that he can be both an explosive and productive complementary receiver.

His best season as a pro came in the lone season he spent with the Raiders where he recorded career-highs in receiving yards (896), and yards per reception (18.7), and tied for his career-high in receiving touchdowns (8) according to Pro Football Reference.

He was able to parlay the breakout season that came about after he signed a one-year prove-it deal following a down year in his last with the Eagles into a lucrative deal with the Patriots.

Coming off his least productive season since his second year in the league where he recorded just 31 catches for 362 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns despite playing in 16 games, the Ravens could be just the perfect landing spot for him to bounce back again. If he delivers again, perhaps he’ll earn another nice payday this time next year to either remain in Baltimore or sign elsewhere.

Last year at 29 years only, he proved that he can still be the same explosive vertical threat that takes the top off of opposing defenses that he showed he was for stretches in his career and especially with the Raiders. The Ravens sorely missed having that consistent element in their passing game in 2022 after Rashod Bateman went down with a season-ending foot injury and the DeSean Jackson experiment didn’t pan out.

The Ravens didn’t properly replace or reinforce the wide receiver position after trading away Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown on the first night of the 2022 NFL Draft. By signing Agholor, they’d land a slightly bigger speed merchant to properly fill the void on the roster that they created with that move.

Still More Work to be Done to Upgrade at WR

While signing Agholor would be a solid start in the Ravens’ mission to “build up” their wide receiver room, they need to keep exploring and listening to other avenues in which they can improve at the spot without breaking the bank given their current situation.

With Lamar Jackson currently counting $32.4 million against the salary cap on the nonexclusive franchise tag, the team will continue to have a difficult time trying to sign better veteran talent at receiver. Nevertheless, they should try to take advantage of a depressed market for the position in terms of salary demands and bring in one or two proven players, preferably ones with speed and or size which are two elements that their current group is missing.

Even with the signing of Agholor, the Ravens would likely still be inclined to select a wide receiver in the first round of this year’s draft and come back to address cornerback in the third whether they sign Ya-Sin or not either.