The Baltimore Ravens are rumored to be one of the favorites to land WR Jarvis Landry via trade. With an obvious need for a dynamic, chain-moving pass-catcher, the move would excite many fans and could bring the offense closer to where it needs to be. This rumor has a fair amount of legitimacy, too. After all, Baltimore attempted to trade for Landry at this year’s deadline, and one could assume that they might still hold interest. In addition, Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie Newsome have both stated that the top priority for Baltimore’s offseason is to bring playmakers into the locker room. Newsome added fuel to the fire at this weekend’s NFL scouting combine, when he suggested that the wide receiver group will receive a complete overhaul. Still, how likely is it that the Ravens pull the trigger on a trade? And, if they do, would it even be worth it?
Landry signed his franchise tag with the Miami Dolphins this week, giving him a $16 million cap number if the Ravens decide to take him on. While this number would strap the team against their budget for the offseason, it would likely be restructured into a long-term deal. If the Ravens do not feel confident that they could sign Landry to a multi-year contract, they will not commit to a trade. Regardless, Jarvis Landry will command a sizeable contract. The Ravens will have to love his talent and feel he will instantly revamp the offense. This brings our attention to his skillset.
Jarvis Landry has arguably been the most successful slot receiver in the NFL since he entered the league in 2014. Averaging just over 100 receptions per season, Landry would certainly provide a safety blanket that QB Joe Flacco could trust. However, the primary knock on Landry is his lack of YAC (yards after the catch). Last season, the wideout averaged 8.8 yards per reception, meaning his after-the-catch playmaking ability – something the Ravens desperately need – is lacking. Is such small productivity worth $16 million? Likely not. What’s important to remember, too, is that Baltimore will not only have to cough up the money for the 6-foot wideout, but it will also have to complete a trade with the Miami Dolphins to acquire him in the first place. And, judging from similar trades in years past, their price tag could be high. For example, the New England Patriots acquired WR Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints last offseason. They exchanged him for a first-round pick. While Cooks is more prolific a target than Landry, Miami could demand a second or third-round pick. Considering the plethora of pass-catchers in those mid-rounds in this year’s draft, I would rather have the opportunity to select a real dynamic player – perhaps Maryland’s DJ Moore or Memphis’ Anthony Miller – than bring in Landry.
There’s no question that Jarvis Landry would improve the Ravens’ passing attack; he is a reliable target with good hands and strong route-running skills. To that point, I would support his acquisition if Baltimore was able to trade for him without draining their few mid-round draft picks. If Miami would part with Landry for a 2018 5th-round pick and a 2019 4th-round pick, I think it would behoove the Ravens to agree. Baltimore could subsequently look to extend Landry on a $12-14 million contract, allowing them to make a few smaller moves in the offseason. Trading for Jarvis Landry would be quite the statement; it would bring in a young receiver with All-Pro potential. However, trading for Jarvis Landry would not be an immediate fix for the numerous holes in Baltimore’s offense. They would still need a big, red-zone target and deep-threat at receiver, as well as a pass-catching tight end. Landry’s contract would likely force the Ravens to address each of these needs in the draft. For this reason, Jarvis Landry – in my opinion – is not worth the investment.