Baltimore Ravens NFL Free Agency target: Seth Roberts
The Baltimore Ravens need to bolster their receiving core without breaking the bank, and signing Seth Roberts in Free Agency would help them do just that.
The Baltimore Ravens need a receiver this offseason, and Seth Roberts can provide Lamar Jackson a big target he’s familiar with at a fraction of what it would cost to sign a big-ticket star.
The Ravens have several holes to address this offseason and relatively limited cap space to do so. After re-signing Pernell McPhee on Friday, they’ll be tasked with replacing (or re-signing) their other four edge rushers that were active for the Divisional Round loss to the Buffalo Bills, significantly improve an offensive line that was a liability in 2020, bolster their depth in the secondary, find a third tight end, and add an influx of talent at the wide receiver position.
The last of those items is probably the one fans have most clamored for, and could also prove to be the most costly to do in a way that satisfies said fans. With Allen Robinson and Chris Godwin both being franchised tagged by their respective clubs, the top-end receiver market is set to offer little beyond former Lion Kenny Golladay (unless you’re willing to take JuJu Smith-Schuster), meaning the Ravens will have stiff competition from more financially-equipped teams to make a splash on the open market or via trade.
The draft is also a possibility and features a deep class to choose from. Just about no one has spent more draft capital at the receiver position than Baltimore over the last two seasons. Even if they do choose to add receiving talent in the draft, 2019 draft picks Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin are currently the elder statesmen on the depth chart, and Lamar Jackson needs a true veteran in the mix. But Devin Duvernay, James Proche, and Dez Bryant showed last season that talent can only go so far if players lack familiarity with an offensive playbook or system, so why not go and find someone who has already played in it?
The Ravens should give Seth Roberts a call.
What plagued Lamar Jackson in 2020 was not the lack of some all-world receiver. It was the absence of another receiver already comfortable in the offense (something that was unreasonable to expect out of newcomers like Duvernay, Proche, and Bryant) and who had the size to win against the best and most physical defenses in the AFC. The problem reared its head in the 2020 Divisional Round loss to the loss to the Titans but became that much more pronounced last year with Roberts, Hayden Hurst, and Nick Boyle all either gone or missing significant time due to injury. Roberts may not have set the world on fire in Baltimore but provided very efficient production, didn’t register a regular-season drop in 2019 and showed the much-needed ability to go up and get it.
With Boykin currently the only receiver on the depth chart above 6″0, the 6″2 Roberts would provide a much-needed big target for Jackson in third-down and goal-line situations. Having another receiver with size would give Greg Roman the ability to mix and match the kinds of looks he throws at opposing defenses, and Roberts’ previous experience in Baltimore would help provide some stability in an offseason that has already seen several coaching changes and stands to bring a lot of new faces to the roster.
Roberts shouldn’t be signed as the single solution to the Ravens’ receiver woes. But if the club spends a high pick on a wideout in the draft, and is also committed to giving Duvernay and Proche bigger roles in 2021, there simply won’t be that many additional reps to go around. Spending a small fortune on someone that will likely haul in under 35 balls next year is just bad business. Roberts should come at a very reasonable rate and add a reliable veteran to slot in behind the young talent at the top of the depth chart.