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Despite having three rookie wide receivers and veterans Anquan Boldin and Lee Evans under contract, General Manager Ozzie Newsome identified wideout as one of the team’s needs this offseason.
It looks to be a good year considering this free-agent class is deep.
The Ravens went young last season, drafting Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss, and keeping undrafted free agent LaQuan Williams on the roster.
They traded for Evans, who had an injury-plagued season capped off by the “drop” in the AFC championship, causing pundits to question whether he will return.
Will Newsome attack free agency this offseason?
Here is a look at some of top free-agent wide receivers the Ravens could consider:
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Unrestricted (6th year); 27 years old; 6-foot-2, 221 pounds 2011 Stats: 14 starts, 81 receptions, 1,159 yards, 5 touchdowns
One of the most talented and physical wideouts in the game, Bowe is a handful for any cornerback. Don’t let his low touchdown total fool you; he’s a major red zone target and had 15 scores a year ago. Bowe and Chiefs cornerback Brandon Carr are up for franchise tag consideration in Kansas City. (Upside – Playmaker; Downside – Price)
Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints Unrestricted (7th year); 28; 6-4, 225 2011 Stats: 7 starts, 80 receptions, 1,143 yards, 8 touchdowns
About the only thing that has slowed Colston down over the years has been nagging injuries. He has just twice played in all 16 games in his six years. He’s a mismatch nightmare with his size and speed, and the Saints – who have quarterback Drew Brees to re-sign – won’t be able to keep everybody. (Upside – Size, Playmaker; Downside – Price, Injury Prone)
Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers
Unrestricted (8th year); 29; 6-5, 230 2011 Stats: 16 starts, 60 receptions, 1,106 yards, 9 touchdowns
Jackson’s one of the top big-bodied, deep threats in the game. The Chargers have shown reluctance to lock him up long-term in the past and he is now expected to hit the open market, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Jackson will command a big payday, however. (Upside – Size, Playmaker, Experience; Downside – Price)
Mario Manningham, New York Giants
Unrestricted (5th year); 25; 6-0, 185 2011 Stats: 10 starts, 39 receptions, 523 yards, 4 touchdowns
The Super Bowl star with his 38-yard, toe-tapping reception is in line for a payday after that performance. He may not get it in New York, where Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks are already the main targets. If Manningham wants more action, he could look elsewhere. He’s been a sure-handed target. (Upside – Age; Downside – Price)
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts
Unrestricted (12th year); 33; 6-0, 198 2011 Stats: 16 starts, 75 receptions, 960 yards, 4 touchdowns
Wayne has expressed a desire to finish his career with the Colts but isn’t happy that they haven’t contacted him yet. One of the most consistent receivers in the league saw a dip in his production last year without battery mate Peyton Manning. Before that, he had seven straight 1,000-plus yard seasons. (Upside – Experience, Production; Downside – Age, Price)