The Baltimore Ravens should target tight end Gary Barnidge

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Tight end Gary Barnidge
SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 20: Tight end Gary Barnidge /

The Baltimore Ravens need depth a tight end with Darren Waller gone and Gary Barnidge would be the perfect fit.

The Baltimore Ravens have not had great luck with tight ends this offseason. After losing Dennis Pitta to another hip injury, Darren Waller has been suspended for at least a year.

This leaves an injury plagued tight end depth chart. Nick Boyle is the only that has been able to stay healthy. Crockett Gillmore only started five games last season and Maxx Williams and Ben Watson both missed significant time with injuries. The Ravens need some help and Gary Barnidge could be the answer.

Barnidge spent four years with the Panthers before having a breakout season with the Browns in 2015. That season he put up fantastic numbers, finishing with 1043 receiving yards and 9 touchdowns. This success came also came against the Ravens. During two games against the Ravens in 2015 he caught 191 and 91 yards along with one touchdown.

After signing a three-year extension last offseason, Barnidge took a step back this season and the numbers weren’t as great. The Browns drafted tight end David Njoku in the first round this offseason and then released Barnidge shortly after.

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A Red Zone Nightmare

The Ravens offense struggled last season, especially in the red zone. They finished 19th in Red zone touchdown percentage at 52.17%. Compare that to the Titans who led the league with 72%. Because the offense wasn’t able to score touchdowns, they settled for field goals and could not close out games.

You add in a body like Barnidge and it changes everything. At 6’6″-250 he is a matchup nightmare for any defender. He’s a mismatch going up against just about every corner and safety in the league. Not to mention, the Ravens also have Crockett Gillmore, who is the same size at 6’6″. Those two as a red zone package is dangerous. All Joe Flacco has to do is throw the ball up and one of them would come down with it.

Paired With Stable QB Situation

Not to knock the Browns, but they haven’t had the most stable quarterback situation. There’s a reason why they’ve struggled so much in recent years. As a receiver it’s hard to develop chemistry with the quarterback with there is a new one under center every other week. If Barnidge came to Baltimore, he’d be paired with a quarterback that’s one of the best at staying on the field. If Barnidge can put up those kind of numbers with Josh McCown and other Browns quarterbacks, think of what he could do with Joe Flacco.

Flacco gets his criticism, but receivers still want to play for him. We saw this when the Ravens were able to lure in Jeremy Maclin this offseason. Flacco has a huge arm and that’s a major advantage. And with Pitta gone, Flacco is missing that security blanket. Barnidge can be that guy that can find the sticks and help the offense pick up that crucial first down. It’s all about extending drives and the Ravens struggled to do that last season.

With Boyle being the primary blocker, the Ravens won’t need Barnidge to do that. He’s an average blocker but a very skilled pass catcher, and that’s what the offense needs him to do.

The Bottom Line

After losing Dennis Pitta, someone is going to have to take over for his production. A reminder, he was the second leading receiver on the team last season. The wide receivers will be much improved this year but the offense will still need production out of the tight ends.

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With no definitive timetable for Ben Watson or Maxx Williams right now, the Ravens need depth. There also is Vince Mayle who converted from wide receiver, along with some undrafted options, but the offense needs a proven player right now. If Barnidge comes at the right price, Ozzie needs to pull the trigger. He could help in a ton of different ways and change the dynamic of this offense.