The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to terms with free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on a two-year deal June 12, finally addressing what had been viewed as a significant offseason priority.
Maclin, 29, visited the Ravens last week after also visiting the Buffalo Bills on a free-agent tour that began after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in a cost-cutting move.
Terms of the deal are not known, but according to the Ravens, Maclin will fly to Baltimore June 13 and sign the deal, just in time for the team's mandatory minicamp June 13-15.
Maclin had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2014 and 2015 before slipping this past season, when he caught 44 passes for 536 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. Those were all career lows for the former first-round pick out of Missouri, who played his first four of five seasons in Philadelphia under current Ravens offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.
Maclin, who has 46 career touchdowns and has averaged 13.5 yards per catch throughout his career, adds a proven playmaker to an offense sorely in need of some. The 2016 Ravens ranked 12th in passing offense but 26th in passing yards per play (5.76). Joe Flacco's average of 6.42 yards per pass play was the second-lowest of his career.
After last season ended, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said one of the team's major offseason goals was to add a "complementary receiver." The Ravens lost Steve Smith Sr. (70 catches, 799 yards, five touchdowns) to retirement and Kamar Aiken (29, 328, 1) to free agency, losing more than 1,000 receiving yards in those two alone.
The need for receiver help became even more pronounced last week when tight end Dennis Pitta, the team's leading receiver last year with 86 catches, suffered his third major hip injury and was released. Add the loss of fullback Kyle Juszczyk (37, 266), and the Ravens have lost more than 50 percent of their receiving production from last season.
Mike Wallace and Breshad Perriman are the only returning players who caught more than seven passes last season. The remainder of an unproven receiver group includes Chris Moore (seven catches last year), injury-prone Michael Campanaro (no catches last year), Chris Matthews (injured reserve last year, 13 catches in three seasons), Vince Mayle (no career catches) and former Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who has yet to play in a regular-season game.
The Ravens missed out on the top three wide receivers in the draft, all of whom were taking in the top nine picks, and despite the stated need at receiver, the Ravens raised some eyebrows by not drafting any skill position players on offense for the first time in franchise history.
At the time, though, Newsome stressed the search for receiver help was ongoing.
"Am I going to be spending between now and up until we play Cincinnati [in Week 1] to continue to improve the football team and try to get an additional wide receiver? Yes," Newsome said, stressing he also expected the unproven young receivers to step up.
Still, Newsome, as he has done so often, was prepared to strike when Maclin became available. Head coach John Harbaugh last week said Maclin had "a great visit" in Baltimore, which included watching the NBA Finals game with some Ravens players at a gathering hosted by safety Tony Jefferson.
Maclin played five seasons in Philadelphia and two in Kansas City, averaging 67 catches and 913 yards per year. In his career, he has 474 catches for 6,395 yards and 46 touchdowns in 102 games.