Baltimore Ravens: Is A.J. Green destined to become a Raven?

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 13: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Paul Brown Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 13: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs the ball during the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Paul Brown Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) /

It’s very likely we see the Baltimore Ravens make some changes to their wide receiver room this offseason. Could free agent A.J. Green part of that change?

The Baltimore Ravens have never been known as a team with an elite wide receiving core. Heck, they’ve never really had anything above average save for a couple of years of duos like Derrick Mason/Anquan Boldin or Steve Smith Sr./Torrey Smith. To the team’s credit, it’s never needed a top-end receiving core to be effective offensively. A change does need to be made, however, after coming up short in the playoffs three years in a row.

The receiving core Baltimore has right now is fickle, with Marquise Brown and Devin Duvernay seemingly the only guaranteed guys to return for 2021. Guys like Willie Snead and Dez Bryant are free agents and others like Miles Boykin and James Proche face make-or-break offseasons. Brown and Duvernay are the only true “locks” moving forward and neither of them is “the guy” to build this core around.

Bottom line: we’re going to see a lot of changes to this wide receiving core this offseason.

This will lead to plenty of potential “dream” fits in the offseason. Some will call for T.Y. Hilton, though my colleague Chris Schisler isn’t personally a fan of the fit. Hilton does kinda seem like a Ravens kind of guy with his blend of speed and route running plus his veteran savviness. That makes it easy to connect the dots between the two parties.

Many will want a super-star signing of a player like Allen Robinson or Chris Godwin, both of whom will be tops on the Free Agency market across all positions. Other studs like Kenny Golladay and Corey Davis also make a lot of sense if Baltimore were to go in on a guy through Free Agency.

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There is one name that makes a terrible amount of sense, however, if we go based on the team’s history: A.J. Green.

Green was on his way to a Hall of Fame career at one point in time, recording six-consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and eight straight seasons of 900+ yards to start his career, notching seven Pro Bowls in that time span. Green, unfortunately, began to face a lot of injuries in the latter half of his career, missing 29 games in a four-year stretch, including missing a full season in 2019. It was a classic case of a player who “got old fast” and seemed like a very washed-up kind of guy.

2020 was also a season to forget for Green, who was essentially the Cincinnati Bengals third option at receiver behind Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins. Green hauled in just 47 passes on 104 targets through his first 16 game season since 2017. Blame it on playing half the year with a rookie quarterback and the other half with below-average quarterbacks if you’d like, but Green was very disappointing in 2020.

This is the reason why he’ll be available for dirt cheap on the Free Agency market. Green will turn 33-years old at the end of July and is definitely trending downwards for his career. Green will be a big-time budget target for plenty of teams.

This is exactly why he feels like such a perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens.

Green will likely sign for close to the veteran’s minimum and the Ravens love getting guys like Green for cheap, prove-it kind of deals. Getting Green on a one-year, low-risk signing sounds exactly like what Baltimore has done countless times throughout their history.

There is one thing that stands out a lot for Green when looking at this Ravens roster, too: size. Green is standing at 6’4″ 210-lbs. and has always been an “above the rim” kind of receiver. Green has a “my ball” mentality that the rest of Baltimore’s receivers seem to lack. He also provides the veteran savviness that this roster needs for its receiving room. This makes all the more sense for why this would be a seemingly perfect signing.

Is Green going to light up the box score with the Ravens? Probably not. Truth be told, this would be a very underwhelming signing considering where Green is at this point in his career. Nonetheless, it really does make a lot of sense to happen.

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A.J. Green is not the player he once was and there’s absolutely no debating that. Even still, he could wind up being a decent little pick-up for a team and the Baltimore Ravens make a lot of sense to make that happen. It’s not the blockbuster move that fans want, but it does feel like a move this franchise is known to make. Is Green destined to become a Raven? It sure does seem like it…