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The Ravens have parted ways with veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokley and re-signed tight end Billy Bajema on the eve of their Week 5 meeting with the Miami Dolphins.
With fellow wide receivers Jacoby Jones and Deonte Thompson healthier and rookie Marlon Brown emerging as a legitimate contributor, the need for the 37-year-old Stokley was decreasing as it was apparent he was having difficulty gaining separation from opposing defensive backs. Before being sidelined with a groin injury in Week 4, Strokley made nine catches for 79 yards this season as he primarily worked out of the slot receiver spot.
Considering it’s unlikely that there would be much demand for Stokley on the open market, the possibility exists of the Ravens bringing back the veteran at some point. According to The Sun, that’s exactly what the Ravens plan to do as they’re expected to re-sign Stokley as early as Monday.
Bajema was released earlier in the week to make room on the 53-man roster for newly-acquired left tackle Eugene Monroe, but the Ravens have struggled mightily at the tight end position this season with Ed Dickson dropping too many passes and 34-year-old Dallas Clark often unable to get open against defenders. Though he has only one catch for 18 yards, Bajema is a strong blocker used in some two-tight end sets.
Stokley was listed as questionable on the injury report this week after missing Friday’s practice and will likely be replaced by some combination of Brown, Thompson, and Marlon Brown in the slot.
His return to the Ravens after he spent his first four NFL seasons in Baltimore was a feel-good story, but Stokley acknowledged a hesitancy in determining whether he wanted to play this season with his skills declining toward the end of his career. A fourth-round pick in the 1999 draft, Stokley will always be remembered as the first Raven to score a touchdown in Super Bowl history when he hauled in a 38-yard score from quarterback Trent Dilfer in Super Bowl XXXV.