Eric Decker may be the more accomplished wide receiver but Willie Snead would be the wiser pickup for the Baltimore Ravens
Last year I would have been more excited about Eric Decker coming to the Baltimore Ravens. Decker is now 31 coming off 54 receptions and 563 yards. The Ravens were a team linked to Decker last year, however Baltimore ended up with Jeremy Maclin. While Decker could have been better than Maclin was, hindsight proved that neither player would have cured the Ravens’ receiving woes. This year Decker is once again a potential target of the Ravens. There is a better option available.
Future promise vs. limited returns in 2018
The Ravens have already visited with Willie Snead, the restricted free agent from the New Orleans Saints. Snead would be the better option for the Ravens. With Snead you have the chance of getting a player the re-enters the prime of his career. Snead had an 895 yard 2016 season. A suspension and an injury completely took away his chance to shine in 2017. Snead still has a full command of his talents. Decker’s time as a star in this league is coming to an end.
Snead is only 25; the Ravens could find a key player for the future if they can get him signed. The argument for drafting wide receivers (an argument that is valid even if Snead signs with the team) is that the Ravens need to stop putting a bandage over their problem with veteran place holders. The Ravens need to bring in players for 2018, but the future matters as well. With Snead there could be a future, with Decker the future would be much more limited.
It is thought that the Ravens are the team that receivers come to die. Yes, Jeremy Maclin didn’t work out, but this narrative is over played. Steve Smith Sr. was a good addition in 2014. Derrick Mason and Anquan Boldin had some of their best moments with the purple and black. Jacoby Jones shined more as a Raven than he ever did with the Texans. The point is that if the Ravens bring in the right kind of talent it will succeed.
The Bottom Line:
Decker is a very interesting option, but he isn’t the best option. Decker hasn’t produced at a high level since 2015 and there is no indication the needle is pointing up for him. Snead is a prime candidate for a bounce back year. Snead would also fit into the Ravens moves this year. Ozzie Newsome bet on John Brown having a resurgence in Baltimore. Why shouldn’t he make the same bet with Snead.
The only way the Ravens should settle on Decker is if Snead ends up re-joining the New Orleans Saints. Even in that instance, the Ravens may be better off drafting a young wide receiver or two in the 2018 NFL Draft. We have to wait to see what happens, but the Ravens should hope that Snead becomes a Raven.