The trade deadline has come and gone but teams can still add to their rosters in the form of free agent signings.
At 6-3, the Baltimore Ravens playoff hopes are in their own hands. They sit atop the AFC North outright, with their division rivals all struggling this season. The Cincinnati Bengals were supposed to be competitive, but it is hard to tell if they are contenders or pretenders. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns do not appear to be threats. It puts Baltimore in a prime spot to clinch the division and draw a favorable matchup for Wildcard Weekend (on the assumption they fail to finish as the AFC’s top seed). To facilitate a playoff push, Baltimore could look to make some signings. The Los Angeles Rams did this with Odell Beckham Jr. in the 2021 season and he had an instant impact.
Given Baltimore’s injury reports of late, an offensive signing may be due sooner rather than later. Rashod Bateman has been ruled out for the season and J.K. Dobbins was placed on IR a few weeks ago. Gus Edwards impressed on his return, but he has been tormented by various injuries of late. The Ravens also had offensive line struggles at the start of the season. Ronnie Stanley’s return took longer than expected and his backups Ju’Wuan Johnson and Patrick Mekari got injured filling in for him. Perhaps the most important injury to note, however, is the various soreness that Mark Andrews has been fighting that saw him miss the game against the New Orleans Saints. Isaiah Likely has done well in his absence but, if Andrews is to miss more time, the Ravens need offensive help.
Here are some offensive free agent targets for the Ravens that make the most sense:
Four Free Agents That Could Help the Baltimore Ravens Playoff Push
Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr
It is no secret that the Ravens have needed a premier wide receiver for a few seasons now. Lamar Jackson has never had a safety valve at the wideout position, something that every contending team needs.
Beckham Jr. had a monumental impact on the Rams last season. He played as the complementary receiver to Cooper Kupp and flashed the potential that he showed with the New York Giants. He would be Baltimore’s primary wideout, replacing Bateman as the starter. Devin Duvernay has been impressive as a WR2 this season but has struggled in Bateman’s absence. Beckham Jr. could solve this issue by allowing Duvernay to continue to serve in the WR2 role.
Not only would Beckham Jr. give the Ravens a reliable, out-and-out WR1 but he would also provide playoff experience to a young receiving corps.
The most important aspect of this potential signing? Beckham Jr. has listed the Ravens as a team that he would want to play for. If he is interested in moving to Baltimore, he should be a prime offensive free agent target for the Ravens’ playoff push.
A few weeks ago I reported Odell Beckham Jr. likely wouldn't sign until after the trade deadline.
The teams I was told to watch in pursuit of him included the Bills, Chiefs, Rams, Ravens and Packers.
The NFL trade deadline has now passed. Beckham watch is front and center.
— Matt Verderame (@MattVerderame) November 1, 2022
Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks*
This is a bit of a cheeky addition given that Brandin Cooks is not a free agent currently. Despite signing a new deal in the off-season, Cooks demanded a trade recently, but was ultimately forced to stay put. His torn relationship with the Houston Texans suggests that he could be granted his freedom soon.
Don’t take a man’s kindness for granted. Covered for the lies for too long those days are done. Crossed the line with playing with my career 🏹
— Brandin Cooks (@brandincooks) November 1, 2022
At 1-6-1, the Texans have looked dire. They are far from the playoffs and so it makes sense for Cooks to seek a roster spot on a contender. Cooks has been one of the only viable receiving options in Houston this season. With 32 catches for 354 yards and a touchdown, Cooks’ numbers this season have been unspectacular – but the lack of any effective offensive production in Houston is part of that.
In Baltimore, Cooks could perform the WR1 role well. He seems a solid scheme fit too as he has played in many run-heavy offenses during his NFL career so far. Given the scheme fit and need, Cooks is a solid offensive free agent target for the Ravens’ playoff push.
Wide Receiver T.Y. Hilton
T.Y. Hilton fits the profile of a realistic offensive free agent target for the Ravens playoff push. Baltimore recently signed DeSean Jackson, a cheap, older veteran with lots of NFL experience. They also signed Dez Bryant a few seasons ago. Hilton would be a signing in a similar ilk. Now older, Hilton has certainly taken a step back from his formerly elite self. But he is still in good playing shape, and a move to the Ravens where he fills a depth role would suit both him and Baltimore well.
The former Indianapolis Colts receiver would be an interesting addition due to his playstyle. The Ravens mostly have smaller speedsters at wideout, but Hilton would provide Jackson a bigger outside target. Hilton would serve well as a possession receiver for the Ravens to contrast what they already have.
Running Back Devonta Freeman
Freeman is now 30 years old. He would be a solid depth addition for the Ravens but nothing more. The veteran was previously on the team too, making the learning curve shallower than if the Ravens pursue other running backs.
Freeman does not have the physical traits to be the feature back anymore. However, with Edwards battling some injuries, Freeman could provide some competition as the RB3 or RB4. He would mostly be used as a change-of-pace back in case of injury to Justice Hill. Freeman would be a good offensive free agent target for the Ravens’ playoff push as they need some veteran depth at the running back position.