The Ravens added a trio of wide receivers via free agency this off-season. How does Willie Snead IV factor into the offensive equation?
Willie Snead IV was an undrafted free agent way back in 2014. Originally signed by the Cleveland Browns, Snead would wander for a bit before landing with the New Orleans Saints. The Saints have been known to find ways to get the most out of their receivers, and Snead proved to be no exception.
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Flash back to 2016 for a moment. Willie Snead recorded over 1,800 receiving yards in a two year span with the New Orleans Saints. Snead built up a good rapport with future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, and became a fantastic down-field threat. The stage was set for Snead to become a household name in New Orleans.
Moving forward to 2017, Willie Snead was banged up for the majority of the season, catching just eight passes for 92-yards. The Saints placed a low-level tender on Snead, a restricted free agent, and then declined to match the Ravens offer. Snead then signed a two-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens worth $7 million.
Now, we arrive in 2018, to the Ravens training camp. Snead seems to be a roster lock and will be doing everything he can to build a new rapport with quarterback Joe Flacco.
We all know this, but now we have a fair question to ask:
What are reasonable expectations?
Let’s not kid ourselves, this Ravens offense has been anemic since Gary Kubiak was the offensive coordinator in 2014. The Ravens have plummeted to embarrassingly bad levels, and it’s been one of the biggest reasons why the Ravens have missed the post-season since 2014 (what a coincidence).
Well, the Ravens brass was sick of hearing the complaints of the fans and decided to fix the offense as best as they could. So, the Ravens went out and added seven new pass catchers for Joe Flacco. Of course, Mr. Willie Snead IV was one of them.
Pressure should be on Snead to perform immediately. Unfortunately, there isn’t much time for development. The Ravens coaching staff is under the microscope and a bad season could get a lot of people fired.
Is this fair to Snead? Absolutely not, but the NFL is a business and the Ravens need a return for their investment in Snead. That being said, asking Snead to have 1,000-yards isn’t fair. After all, he didn’t even accomplish this feat with the Saints.
No, the Ravens simply need Snead to be electric. The Ravens have sorely missed the deep-ball aspect of their offense, and Joe Flacco misses being able to use his arm to stretch the field. The good news is Snead can help to reopen this facet of the offense. Provided Snead maintains a strong camp, there’s no reason to think he can’t make a day one impact.