AFC North: Amani Toomer

Posted by's James Walker

With less than 24 hours before the start of training camp, the Baltimore Ravens find themselves back to square one when it comes to wide receivers. This comes after the second piece of shocking news hit the position, when veteran Drew Bennett retired just two days after signing a one-year contract.

As much as the Ravens claim publicly that they are confident in their receivers, the team doesn't appear comfortable enough to go into the regular season with Mark Clayton and perhaps Demetrius Williams as the two starters. Last week the team did two things in an attempt to bolster the position: Baltimore held a tryout with four receivers and also had a talk with Derrick Mason about his retirement.

The tryout resulted in choosing Bennett, which didn't work. The results of talking with Mason are still to be determined.

At this point, the Ravens are running out of options and running out of time.

They could either hope for the best and stick with their current group this season or delve back into the shallow pool of free agents looking for a job. That group includes receivers Matt Jones, Amani Toomer, Joe Horn and Marvin Harrison.

Horn, 37, is the only player in the group to date that Baltimore has reportedly contacted. Any trade for an impact receiver seems unlikely.

Looking back, it is still surprising that Baltimore did not take a receiver in any round of the NFL draft in April. It was the thinnest position on the team entering the offseason, and now, thanks to a few surprises, the situation has only gotten worse for the Ravens.

Posted by's James Walker

The Baltimore Ravens have had an interesting week, to say the least.

On Monday, one of their most indispensable players -- receiver Derrick Mason -- caught the Ravens by surprise when he announced his retirement. But on Wednesday Baltimore had good news to report by locking up Pro Bowl defensive end/linebacker Terrell Suggs long term.

According to senior writer John Clayton, the deal is for six years and $63 million. Suggs had up until 4 p.m. Wednesday to remove the one-year franchise tender Baltimore previously placed on him this offseason.

It's been a roller-coaster two-year process negotiating with Suggs. Now that it's come to an end, expect the Ravens to immediately shift their focus to the wide receivers in an attempt to fill a huge void Mason left behind.

Here are some intriguing names left on the open market:


Marvin Harrison

Skinny: With 1,102 career receptions, the former Indianapolis Colts star is the best of what's available. The future Hall of Famer's possession skills are somewhat similar to Mason's, but age and health might be issues.

Matt Jones

Skinny: The former first-round pick will not face a suspension for his prior run-ins with the law in the past year, the NFL announced in May. But the Ravens are usually careful not to take many chances with character risks and Jones would qualify as one.


Plaxico Burress

Skinny: Burress is a legit No. 1 receiver who also has some character concerns, in addition to a looming trial and uncertain future in the NFL. If the league clears Burress to play at any point this season, there will be several teams jumping at the opportunity to sign him. Would the Ravens?

Amani Toomer

Skinny: A former teammate of Burress', Toomer is 34 and wouldn't be the answer for the Ravens if they're looking for an immediate No. 1 receiver. But Toomer caught 48 passes last season for 580 yards and might be able to add experience in a support role for a young group of receivers in Baltimore.


Ashley Lelie

Skinny: Despite prior flashes, Lelie never lived up to his potential. His best season was in 2004 when he caught 54 passes for 1,084 yards, averaging a whopping 20.1 yards per catch. Since then it's been all downhill. But Lelie, who played for the Oakland Raiders in 2008, still has the speed Baltimore covets.

Jerry Porter

Skinny: Porter was invited to Ravens minicamp in the spring and didn't show much. Eventually, he was beat out by Kelley Washington for a roster spot. Word around the league is that Porter's work ethic is no longer NFL caliber. But perhaps Porter is in better shape to help a team closer to training camp than he was in the spring.