Despite the loss of coveted free agent Malcom Floyd, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Friday the team is still open to the possibility of signing one of the veteran free agent wide receivers still on the market.
Earlier this week and into today, the Ravens were reported to be the front-runners for Floyd, but hopes for that acquisition came to a halt when the receiver signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Chargers just minutes into the Ravens’ Friday practice session. Floyd has played with the Chargers for his entire seven-year career.
“I think it’s a possibility,” Harbaugh said about picking up a veteran receiver. “We’re certainly not going to shy away from adding players and it’s a position, obviously, you talk about the rookies we’ve got on one hand, but at the same time we’re looking to the other hand. I think we’d be happy to bring in a really good player so we could possibly have room for one more but that doesn’t mean we’re not looking at guys like (James) Hardy and there’s just so many good guys on (on the field).”
Harbaugh made it a point to stress the fact that despite the need for an experienced pass catcher, the team is confident in the current squad, should they make up the receiving corps at the start of the season.
Joe Flacco’s go-to target will be Anquan Boldin again, who hauled in 64 catches and 837 yards last season. But with the departures of familiar receivers Derrick Mason and Todd Heap, Flacco must now turn to the fourth-year Hardy, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound target, and a slew of younger guys, led by the Ravens’ second-round pick in last April’s draft in wide receiver Torrey Smith.
Smith, who shined just down the road at University of Maryland, has had an impressive camp thus far, and should be a focal point for fans planning to attend the team’s sole open practice scheduled for Saturday at 10 am at M&T Bank Stadium.
During drills Friday, Smith adjusted to a throw from Flacco which was off the mark on a deep route and was still able to bring in the reverse shoulder grab. Later in practice, Smith made another impressive catch, this time on a cross route, before bursting up the field amidst praises from coaches on the sidelines.
Though it’s early, Smith appears to have a bright future at the position, but for the Ravens, the need to win is now. Ray Lewis isn’t getting any younger and the defense is beginning to show its age at times. If this is to be a legitimate Super Bowl run, the Ravens know they probably need another proven set of hands to complement Boldin.
Could Mason be back in a Ravens uniform? He’s reportedly still mulling over his options, but has to decide between the Ravens, the Jets and the Titans.
As for the guys currently in Baltimore, Harbaugh knows the battle to earn the currently open role of the team’s No. 2 receiver is constantly evolving.
“Obviously you can’t make any final (decisions right now),” Harbaugh said. “I think it’s going to through the season with these guys. They’re going to be on the team, they’re going to be playing and it’ll be interesting to see how they handle the whole season.
“The history is that guys can play right out of the gate, so we’re not going to lower the bar for these guys. The bar’s high, they knew what they were getting into when we drafted them. We did draft them because we thought they were guys who can get up to speed quickly. They’re smart guys and they catch the ball well. They’re just good football players.”