Sammy Watkins signs with Ravens: ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting the Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Sammy Watkins to a one-year deal worth $6 million including $5 million in guaranteed money.
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Sammy Watkins to the Ravens - 1 year 6mil (5mil fully guaranteed), per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 26, 2021
Sammy Watkins Signs with Ravens
While Sammy Watkins is not a splash signing like Kenny Golladay or Will Fuller, he is a massive upgrade at the wide receiver position for the Ravens.
Before killing me for suggesting that Watkins is a “massive" upgrade, take this into consideration. Outside of Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson’s top receiving options, the dual-threat quarterback’s pass-catchers have included Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, Willie Snead, Dez Bryant and Chris Moore. If you read that out loud and still don’t think Watkins is a tremendous boost to Baltimore’s offense, then you haven’t been paying attention.
Moore, Snead, and Bryant are all free agents and not expected to return to the team. In fact, Moore and Snead have both signed elsewhere while Bryant’s career is hanging on by a thread. There is a clear path for Watkins to make an instant impact with the Ravens. Pencil him in as a starter in two-wide sets opposite Brown. What’s more, the only thing stopping Watkins is his injury history. Watkins has not played a full 16 game slate since his rookie 2014 campaign in Buffalo.
Speaking of the Bills, Watkins had his most productive season in Buffalo back in 2015. In that season, the then, second-year wideout, caught 60-of-96 targets for 1,047 yards and nine touchdowns while averaging 17.8 yards per catch in 13 games. Watkins also averaged 80.1 yards per game and five games with 100+ receiving yards. Outside of receptions, Watkins set career highs in every one of those statistical categories.
So why am I emphasizing Watkins’ 2015 campaign with the Bills? In that season, Watkins’s offensive coordinator was Greg Roman, who will be the 27-year-old wideout’s OC in Baltimore. Reuniting with Roman in a similar run-heavy offense could be what the doctor has ordered for Watkins to get his career back on track. However, was it ever really off track?
Watkins is not a high-volume receiver like Julio Jones. Instead, Watkins is a home run-hitting speedster who not only can make plays, but he also makes the type of impact that does not show up on the stat sheet. A savvy veteran, Watkins can draw the pass interference call to extend drives. You don’t get credit or fantasy points for that, so those intangibles are often overlooked by the consensus.
With both Andrews and Brown slated as Jackson’s top two receiving options, Watkins will likely draw single coverage, which bodes well for his statistical outlook if his health remains intact. The veteran wideout can also serve as a blocking asset in Baltimore’s offense as well.
The Ravens are a team on the brink of contending for a Super Bowl. Watkins could be that missing piece that gets them over the proverbial hump in the postseason. Watkins is one of those big game ballers who has shown up when it matters most. In his past six postseason appearances dating back to 2018, Watkins has averaged 5.8 targets, 4.2 receptions, and 79.5 yards per game. In three of those six outings, Watkins has gone for 98+ yards including two games with 114.
Sammy Watkins may never be a #FantasyFootball stud, but he’s a gamer when it counts
In 5 playoff games w/ KC
*only 1 TD
4/114 (‘18 CC)
2/76 + 1/14 (rush)
— Anthony Cervino (@therealNFLguru) January 15, 2021
Ravens 2021 NFL Betting Outlook
Ravens Super Bowl 56 Winner (+1500)
As we stand, the Ravens have the seventh-best odds to win Super Bowl 56 (+1500). With offseason additions that include WR Sammy Watkins and OG Kevin Zeitler, Baltimore’s offense should be improved enough entering the 2021 NFL Draft, putting them in a spot to draft for luxury over need.
Sure, the Ravens have needs like most teams not named the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but they aren’t staggering. In fact, since they are knocking at the door of a championship, we could see the Ravens draft to get themselves to the next level rather than drafting to fill future needs as we saw from the Green Bay Packers last offseason. Look for the Ravens to add a pass-rusher in the first round while addressing a light wide receiver corps in the second or third. As long as they hit, we should see the Ravens make a deep run this season.
The Ravens ended 2020 with the second-best scoring defense (18.9 PPG), the seventh-best scoring offense (29.3 PPG), and a (+4) turnover differential. They already have the reception for success. Shoring-up their interior offensive line with Zeitler while adding their first legitimate WR2 in the Lamar Jackson era should open up Baltimore’s offense even more. And as I suggested earlier, selecting a pass rusher early in April’s draft could put their defense in a terrific position to get that much more menacing, if that is even possible.
If you are looking to place a wager on the Ravens to win Super Bowl 56, now is the time. With the right draft, these (+1500) odds won’t last long.