On the heels of a lackluster 13-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Ravens’ preseason opener on Thursday night, general manager Ozzie Newsome apparently saw the same pressing need at wide receiver that everyone else did.
The Ravens have traded for Buffalo receiver Lee Evans, as first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Bills had reportedly been shopping the 30-year-old receiver for a third-round pick, but Baltimore instead sent a 2012 fourth-round selection to acquire the 5-foot-10 receiver.
“He’s a quality veteran receiver who stretches the field and gives us a significant downfield presence,” said Newsome to the team’s official website. “He’s the type of person you want on your team. He brings leadership and maturity to the locker room.”
Evans spent seven seasons in Buffalo and has caught 43 touchdowns and accumulated 5,934 receiving yards in his NFL career. With draft picks Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss projected as the No. 2 and No. 3 receivers entering the preseason opener, the rookies struggled to gain separation in the first half against Philadelphia. Ravens wide receivers failed to record a catch until the 6:15 mark of the second quarter when Doss caught a 6-yard pass from Tyrod Taylor.
Though lacking the imposing size of free-agent target Malcom Floyd, who spurned the Ravens to re-sign with San Diego, Evans brings good speed and another veteran option for Joe Flacco to target in a revamped passing game trying to replace the production of Derrick Mason and Todd Heap.
“We’re excited about getting Lee Evans,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a proven player in this league and a quality person who will fit in well on our team. We’re all looking forward to going to work with him.”
While Evans brings a track record to a group of green receivers behind Anquan Boldin, the former Wisconsin Badger has seen his production drop three straight seasons and had a career-low 37 receptions in 2010. However, Evans did average 15.6 yards per catch and caught four touchdowns a year ago.
Evans’ biggest game in 2010 came against the Ravens when he caught six passes for 105 yards and three touchdowns, a performance that led to the benching of former Ravens cornerback Fabian Washington.
With the Ravens likely to receive compensatory picks for their high number of departed free agents, a fourth-round pick likely became more expendable to Newsome and the front office.