I think the headline makes my opinion pretty clear, but I hope you’ll read on anyway.
As San Diego Union-Tribune ace Chargers beat writer Kevin Acee indicated Wednesday, the Baltimore Ravens are the front-runners to land free agent WR Malcom Floyd after offering him a contract worth more than $3 million per year. Acee says the contract offered by the Ravens exceeds any known offer from the Bolts.
A deal for Floyd could be in place as early as Thursday, the day the NFL’s 2011 league year begins.
Floyd is by no means a prototypical “Number 1” type receiver, and could be considered somewhat of a “late bloomer” after making his debut for the Chargers in 2004 as an undrafted free agent out of Wyoming.
Until 2009, Floyd failed to record as many as 30 catches or 500 receiving yards in a single season.
But in his last two seasons, Floyd has exploded for a combined 82 catches and 1,493 yards; adding in seven touchdown receptions.
The knock on Floyd has been a propensity to drop the ball, but that stigma might not be completely fair.
AdvancedNFLStats.com provides a statistic known as “Catch Rate” (CR), which they define as “the proportion of passes targeted to a receiver that are caught.” While the statistic reflects not only dropped catches but also passes defended, it is the fairest known way of answering the question “how many times does a particular receiver catch the ball when it is thrown in his direction?”.
Over the last two seasons, Floyd has averaged a CR of 53.65; catching nearly 54% of passes when he was the intended target.
As a base of comparison, free agent Ravens WR Derrick Mason (who is rumored to be a target of Rex Ryan and the New York Jets) has averaged a CR of 56.05 over the last two seasons.
Mason is considered to be one of the more sure-handed receivers in the NFL, while Floyd is believed to suffer from a significant case of the “drops.”
Mason has caught roughly 56% of the passes where he was the intended target over the last two seasons. Floyd has caught roughly 54% of the passes where he was the intended target in the same time frame.
The criticism of Floyd is largely without merit.
Floyd’s numbers are not the most significant attribute he would bring with him to Charm City. The most significant attribute he would bring would absolutely be his size.