Ravens wideout Rashod Bateman sounded off on his own general manager, Eric DeCosta, for some comments DeCosta made about the receiver room, adding fuel to the fires in Baltimore.
All is not well in the Baltimore Ravens building. Several months after their 2022 season ended, the team still hasn’t extended quarterback Lamar Jackson and based on recent reports may be forced to franchise tag him in 2023.
Signing Jackson to a long-term deal is obviously the highest priority for the Ravens, but the organization now has to deal with another disgruntled offensive star.
On Wednesday, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta spoke at the NFL Combine and gave some pretty damning statements on the state of the receiving corps.
When asked about Baltimore’s problem with drafting wide receivers, DeCosta responded:
"If I had an answer, that means I would probably have some better receivers, I guess. We keep trying…. Sometimes it is tied to the quarterback. And I think it’s tied to things like durability…. We’ve never really hit on that All-Pro type of guy, which is disappointing, I would say. But it’s not for lack of effort."
Wide receiver Rashod Bateman did not appreciate DeCosta essentially blaming the current Ravens’ wideout group for the team’s disappointing production and told the GM to do better at “keeping us healthy” and to “play to our players’ strengths.”
Former Ravens wideout Hollywood Brown sided with Bateman on Twitter, though Bateman has since taken the original tweet down and publicly apologized.
Ravens WR Rashod Bateman and GM Eric DeCosta are feuding
Bateman, the Ravens’ first-round pick in 2021, saw his rookie season get cut short due to injury. In Year 2, Bateman appeared on track to a breakout campaign, averaging at least 27 yards per catch in each of his first three games, but a season-ending foot injury forced him to watch the Ravens fumble their playoff hopes away in an early Wild Card loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
DeCosta is merely pointing out the facts, not necessarily pointing the finger, when he said the receiver room may have a “durability” issue as Bateman has missed chunks of the last two seasons. Yet Bateman may have the better counterargument given the Ravens’ F- grade for their strength coaches, per their NFLPA report card, and given the Ravens’ perennial nonchalance surrounding their wideout unit.
In the last three years combined, the Ravens rank second to last in the league in wide receiver spending, according to Warren Sharp. In that time fame, they’ve drafted four wide receivers with Rashod Bateman serving as the only real threat with high upside. And despite their aversion to wide receivers in drafts, Baltimore has only signed three wideouts in free agency, all on cheap one-year deals: Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Chris Moore. Those guys aren’t exactly household names.
While other AFC heavyweights were making big money moves for their wideouts of the future, the Ravens have equipped franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson with…. basically nothing as far as an elite and reliable outside target.
Tight end Mark Andrews has shouldered most of the burden of the passing attack, one that has declined in recent history, ranking in the bottom three of the NFL in passing yards in two of the last three years.
Newly appointed offensive coordinator Todd Monken may be able to stop some of the bleeding, and Bateman should hopefully play his first full season in 2023, but right now, the Ravens’ offensive future hinges on Lamar Jackson.
Losing Jackson is a much, much bigger problem than a skimpy wide receiver room.