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The Ravens Are Signing 35-Year Old DeSean Jackson To "Solve" Their Dire WR Problem

The Baltimore Ravens have a wide receiver problem. Write it on my gravestone.

It's been that way for virtually their entire existence. There may have been blips over the years where the Ravens have had it together. The Testaverde to Michael Jackson connection was LEGIT early on and the Boldin/Torrey/Jacoby trio with Dennis Pitta was pretty formidable and they've got the ring to show it. But otherwise... the position has been largely neglected by Ozzie Newsome and his protégé and current GM Eric DeCosta.

That hasn't changed much despite the league changing dramatically into a passing league over the years. That shift has caused teams to pour truckloads of money into the wide receiver position. Generally speaking, it's poor roster construction to do so, and the Ravens have recognized that. They haven't said as much, but their actions over the years suggest strongly that they simply will not invest in the position. 

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There were a lot of reasons to trade Hollywood Brown. Besides the fact that he had asked for the trade himself, there were issues behind the scenes and an unwillingness to pay him down the road. The Ravens were smart to get out in front of it and trade him at a premium on draft night, getting a 1st rounder that ended up being Tyler Linderbaum (who's been awesome save for a couple rookie mistakes thus far). 

What's been baffling since is the lack of contingency plan to replace Brown. They were right to acknowledge Rashod Bateman as a future superstar and the talent is certainly there for him... but he battled health issues throughout his rookie year. It was short-sighted to expect him to play 17+ games without running into some issues, and the drop-off behind him was far too steep not to supplement the position in the offseason... even if you have the best tight end in football. The idea of signing DeMarcus Robinson in August was never going to accomplish that goal.

That leaves us in the situation where we're in now that Bateman has been on the shelf for two weeks. This offense HUMMED when Bateman was out there. Absolutely cooked. Lamar was hitting Bateman on a deep ball seemingly every week. Even on his down weeks, he would make impact plays like the one in New England that changed the dynamic of the game. But it's become clear as day, without him we have major issues. We simply cannot move the football down the field consistently without him.

All of that points to a major failure to supplement the position in the offseason. At this point, it is what it is. It's in the past. It's rare to have the opportunity to make an impact move midseason... but those opportunities are surprisingly there this year. 

Robbie Anderson was the most available receiver in the history of the trade block on Sunday night and went for next to nothing (a 2024 6th and 2025 7th) to a team that needs him far less than we do. He's not a perfect antidote but he'd CERTAINLY be an improvement over what we have now sans Bateman, and he'd make for a great #2 when Bateman is back.

DJ Moore is also out there, presumably at a far steeper price. Maybe that's still a direction we go but it feels very unlikely EDC will give up the 2nd rounder (and maybe more) that it would take to get a receiver approaching his free agent years. 

And lastly, Odell Beckham is out there. For years I laughed at the guy and thought he was a problem child that I'd want nothing to do with... but the talent is undeniable. In a room of loud personalities and superstars, he proved he can fit in with his performance in LA last year. He's one of the best receivers I've ever seen at running the slant. There's so much explosive potential with RPO's and slants in this offense, it would be a home run signing.

But instead... here we are. Signing another 35-year old receiver with hopes that he'll conjure up the magic of years and years ago. A guy with very few pros that you can put a lot of the same things in the cons column as you can Odell.

It's laughable. Even Bateman thinks so.

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It takes a lot for me to take EDC to task and I hate irrational spur of the moment reactions... but this issue was completely predictable. Predictable with plenty of viable solutions both months ago and now and this is where we're at. I'm sure DeSean will catch a couple deep balls and I'm sure he is still an improvement in some regards to what we have already, but it's ludicrous to think that this tiny man can plug this large of a hole in this boat.

I'm praying we have another move up our sleeves. If not, I'll have no choice but to lose days, weeks, and years off my life anytime a defender is within the same zip code as Bateman. This is just no way to go through life.