Sammy Watkins agreed to a $ 6 million year (which included a guaranteed $ 5 million) with the Baltimore Ravens on Friday, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The addition of Watkins ended the Ravens’ difficult search for a seasoned wide receiver for quarterback Lamar Jackson and helps fuel the NFL’s 32nd-ranked passing game. Watkins ‘4,665 receiving yards is more than double the combined career total of the Ravens’ current wide receivers (2,032).
If he can stay healthy, Watkins can join Marquise “Hollywood” Brown as Baltimore wide receivers and complement him as a valuable underdog for Jackson.
It’s been a tough offseason for the Ravens to land a veteran wide receiver for Jackson, raising further questions about whether wide receivers want to play Baltimore’s offense where he runs first. Desperately needing a wide receiver in a dwindling pool of free agents, the Ravens saw JuJu Smith-Schuster turn down a better offer to return to Pittsburgh last week and then lost to TY Hilton, who decided to return to Indianapolis on Wednesday.
Baltimore eventually left with Watkins, who had met with Ravens officials Tuesday before leaving to visit the Colts. When Indianapolis retained Hilton, the Ravens struck a deal with Watkins.
Upon joining Baltimore, Watkins meets with Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman and aerial games specialist Keith Williams. In Roman’s only full season as the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator, Watkins produced career-highs with 1,047 receiving yards and nine touchdowns in 2015. Before being hired by the Ravens this year, Williams most recently served as Watkins’ personal wide receivers coach. in the off season.
This is the first time Baltimore has signed a wide receiver this early in free agency since the Ravens added Michael Crabtree in 2018. The top free agent wide receiver signings by the Ravens in the past two years were Seth. Roberts and Dez Bryant.
One of the Ravens’ biggest offseason surprises was that Baltimore didn’t immediately sign a wide receiver when he was among the team’s top needs. Ravens wide receivers ranked last in each of the past two seasons in receptions and receiving yards, and this group ranked among the youngest in the league because of their two most experienced targets (Bryant and Willie Snead IV) they are free agents. Before bringing in Watkins, the top four Ravens wide receivers on his list – Brown, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and James Proche – were drafted in the past two years and none are older than 24.
Watkins’ signing will not prevent the Ravens from selecting a wide receiver, but it should lessen the need to select one in the first round.
Watkins is just the Ravens’ second free agent signed by another team this offseason. On March 29, Baltimore signed point guard Kevin Zeitler to a three-year, $ 22.5 million contract.