It was all quiet on the western front (the Baltimore Ravens front that is) until three events occurred over the past few days that are bound to change the Ravens offense for 2017. First, Dennis Pitta injures his hip for the third time in 4 years, with this appearing to be career ending as the Ravens released him with an injury waiver. On the same day the Chiefs decided to release Jeremy Maclin and save $10 million in cap space in another move by football owners as a business decision. Now, Eric Decker is going to either be traded or released to save cap space as well. It seems like these situations keep falling into the Ravens lap, i.e. Anquan Boldin and Elvis Dumervil and it looks like they may be ready to cash in again.
Jeremy Maclin visited the Bills on June 6th but left Buffalo without a contract and has meeting with the Ravens. It’s hard to see Maclin leaving Baltimore without a deal. People appear to be half and half on if the Ravens should take Maclin or Decker but for many reasons Maclin is the best fit for Baltimore. Both suffered injuries during the 2016 season, but in 2015 both had 1,000 receiving yards and considering their QB’s (Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick) either one of them would do well with the strong arm of Joe Flacco.
In Denver, Decker played in the shadow of Demaryius Thomas and too an extent, and then with Pro Bowler Brandon Marshall in New York, he was allowed to put up three 1,000 yard season between his time with the New York Jets and Denver Broncos. Alongside speedster Desean Jackson, Maclin put up 4,771 yds in 5 years with the Philadelphia Eagles health will be the deciding factor with these two dominant WR’s.
Maclin was dealing with a nagging groin injury in 2016 that even after being cleared to play after 4 games, put a cap on his production only putting up 536 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Decker had it even worse with a shoulder and hip issue that required surgery after only playing 3 games in 2016. Seeing how the Ravens just released Pitta over a hip injury it’s hard to see them taking a chance on another player with a bad hip.
When you compare the stats between the two receivers, they are practically identical:
|4 yr||4 yr||DEN||62||44||362||222||3070||13.8||33||61||3.6||49.5|
|3 yr||3 yr||NYJ||33||31||268||163||2183||13.4||19||74||4.9||66.2|
|5 yr||5 yr||PHI||75||73||567||343||4771||13.9||36||83||4.6||63.6|
|2 yr||2 yr||KAN||27||27||200||131||1624||12.4||10||61||4.9||60.1|
The shoulder and hip injury is worrisome for Decker because he will be playing against defenses in the AFC North (Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati Bengals, and Cleveland Browns) who are extremely hard hitting and key in on wounded players to take them out of the game. Maclin’s groin injury can heal over time and his time spent in divisions like the NFC East and AFC West has made him tougher. The Ravens need a guy they can count on playing 16 games this season, especially Marty Mornhinweg and John Harbaugh.
Decker is the traditional receiver who works the middle of the field and has decent hands but the Ravens needs a playmaker, a guy that can get separation, get the deep ball and has the experience. With the Ravens releasing Dennis Pitta and clearing over $2 million in cap space it sounds like they want to spend a little more on a quality player. Flacco and Harbaugh need to get back to the playoffs soon and they know it or they’ll both find themselves typing up resume’s.