BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens announced their roster cuts on Saturday and much to the joy of Ravens nation, the list included former 2015 first-round pick Breshad Perriman.
The wide receiver didn’t make the 53-man roster despite leading the team in catches and receiving yards this preseason. Perriman’s dismissal ends what has been a disappointing tenure for the 24-year-old out of the University of Central Florida.
Perriman missed his entire rookie season with the Ravens due to injury and that quickly drew the ire of Ravens fans. In his 2016 return, he only started one game but tallied 33 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns including this gem against the Dolphins.
Perriman’s 2016 season gave his supporters hope that 2017 could be the year he realized his untapped potential. Unfortunately he caught just ten passes in 2017 for 77 total yards and no touchdowns. He also had several prominent drops that brought out the haters in full force.
It didn’t get any better for Perriman when this happened on the first pass of the 2018 preseason in the Hall of Fame Game against the Bears:
The above exploits represent the case for why Perriman is no longer a Baltimore Raven and I for one am not at all surprised that he was cut.
While the evidence agrees with this decision, I believe that Perriman should have made the 53-man roster. I will now try to convince you why the player who was most likely your most-hated Raven should have been on this team for the 2018 season.
Listen. Everyone in Baltimore is understandably excited for yet another new look receiving corps this season. And while it is certainly possible that Michael Crabtree, John Brown, and Willie Snead can spark the Ravens passing game, it is equally as likely that this could once again be a unit that struggles for the Ravens.
Michael Crabtree signed a 3 year $21 million contract and will be the Ravens #1 WR. Image Credit: Baltimore Ravens
Crabtree is the closest thing to an impact player in the passing game for the Ravens. He is their number-one wide receiver and will be looking for his fourth straight eight plus touchdown season. But don’t forget that the Oakland Raiders cut Crabtree which opened the door for the 30-year-old to sign Baltimore. As far as number-one receivers are concerned, Crabtree is in the bottom 25% of the NFL.
A quick rundown of teams that undoubtedly have a number-one WR that is better than Crabtree: NE, PIT, CIN, CLE, HOU, IND, OAK, DEN, KC, SD, NYG, MIN, GB, CHI, NO, TB, ATL, ARI, LA, SEA. Some of these teams have multiple guys that are better. Arguments can be made that BUF, MIA, PHI, DET also possess a better number-one option than Crabtree.
I like Crabtree. I liked him coming out of the draft and I loved him when he became a free agent after the 2014 season and signed with the Raiders. At this point, however, Crabtree is not a top 20 wide receiver in the NFL.
John Brown is the only speed threat in the Ravens new WR corps. Image Credit: USA Today
Brown has impressed throughout training camp and has been the star of the offseason in Baltimore. Brown has struggled throughout his career to stay healthy, missing multiple games with hamstring and quad injuries among other ailments. Brown played just ten games last year, starting five, and only tallied 21 catches for 299 yards and three touchdowns for the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cardinals allowed Brown to leave via free agency this offseason to sign a one-year $5 million contract with the Ravens. The Cardinals have opted to go with Chad Williams (who?), rookie Christian Kirk and veteran J.J. Nelson at WR to assist Larry Fitzgerald. The Cardinals believe that players with a combined 32 NFL receptions last season offer them more than the departed Brown. With that being said, let’s tamper our expectations of Brown’s potential impact in Baltimore.
Willie Snead will be looking for a bounce back year in Baltimore. Image Credit: Baltimore Ravens
Snead has been the quietest of the offseason receiver additions this preseason. He is coming off of a season in which he caught just eight passes for 92 yards and zero touchdowns. Snead signed an offer sheet with the Ravens for two years and $10.4 million and the New Orleans Saints declined to match the offer which landed him with the Ravens.
Snead was suspended for the first three games of last season with a violation of the NFL’S personal conduct policy. He also battled injuries throughout much of last season, appearing in just 11 games all year. Additionally, he had the benefit of playing with a top five quarterback in Drew Brees during his first two years in the NFL where he posted averages of 70 catches and 939 yards. There are also no players on the Ravens that match the ability of Michael Thomas or Brandin Cooks who were the top targets in New Orleans during Snead’s tenure. He is a wild card at this point in his career.
The point is while the excitement could be validated with huge years from the Ravens offseason additions, the possibility definitely exists that this group could flop and become an issue for the Ravens. The depth behind the starters is currently Chris Moore, Jordan Lasley and Janarion Grant.
Chris Moore could be thrust into the starting lineup if John Brown or Willie Snead prove unable to stay on the field. Image Credit: Pressbox
Moore, a fourth-round pick in 2016 is looking to build off his best season in the NFL where he tallied 18 grabs for 248 yards and three touchdowns. He is the only backup wide receiver on the roster with NFL experience and in what was a poor group for the Ravens last year, Moore produced minimal impact at best.
Lasley is a 2018 fifth-round pick out of UCLA and has struggled throughout the preseason. He looks to be more of a project at this point, but could be pressed into action if the aforementioned starters struggle to stay on the field which has often proven to be the case with Brown and Snead.
Grant is an undrafted rookie out of Rutgers who projects to be the leading candidate to return punts and kicks this season. He does not figure to factor into the receiving game and did fumble a kick in the preseason. He had just 99 catches in his four-year collegiate career.
These are your wide receivers, Ravens fans. Three starters that were jettisoned from their previous teams, a player who made minimal impact in a poor receiving group last year, and two rookies.
I know that Perriman was a very unpopular player in Baltimore. I have conceded that I believed he would be cut. I will concur that he has not developed into the NFL wide receiver we all hoped he would be when he was drafted. I will further agree that perhaps his time in Baltimore had to come to an end because of all of the above facts.
I ask that you consider the points that I have made on behalf of Perriman and ask yourself this question: If Brown and/or Snead gets hurt or struggle (their past few seasons have indicated they will), what are the Ravens going to look like at wide receiver with Crabtree, Moore, Lasley and Grant?
They are going to look a lot like last year’s Ravens offense. And while we may disagree on Perriman, we can all agree that nobody wants to see that.
Image Credit: Baltimore Sun