Two months later, the Ravens gave Flacco exactly what he wanted, reaching an agreement with wide receiver Mike Wallace on Tuesday, according to a team source. Wallace is not only the best deep threat still available in free agency, but he also established himself as a big-play weapon during his days with the Steelers.
This has the makings of being a perfect fit for both sides, as long as Wallace's career-worst season in 2015 isn't an indication he's on serious decline.
Wallace, 29, has caught more long passes than almost everyone else in the league since entering the NFL in 2009. His 44 catches and 21 touchdown receptions on passes that traveled at least 25 yards in the air rank second only to DeSean Jackson over the last seven seasons.
Stretching the field is what Flacco loves to do. In Flacco's first seven seasons (2008-14), he threw 333 passes that traveled 25 yards or more in the air. That's five more than any other quarterback over that span. Flacco completed 93 of them.
But the Ravens struggled to go over the top of defenses last season. Torrey Smith left in free agency, and first-round pick Breshad Perriman didn't play a down because of a sprained knee. One team official acknowledged the loss of Perriman was devastating because the Ravens didn't have anyone else to strike fear in defenses with speed. As a result, Baltimore ranked last in the NFL with a 10.4 yards-per-catch average.
Bringing in Wallace is not a sign the Ravens are concerned about Perriman. He is expected to participate in offseason workouts, according to general manager Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens just understand that a team can't have enough speed. The Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals, both of whom Baltimore is chasing in the AFC North, have proven that in recent years.
This also isn't a situation where the Ravens are going to depend on Wallace to be a No. 1 receiver like he was asked to be in Pittsburgh, Miami and Minnesota. Baltimore will be at its best in the passing game when Flacco is distributing the ball to Steve Smith, Wallace and Perriman on the outside and to Ben Watson, Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmore over the middle.
The Ravens remember Flacco was at his best during the 2012 playoffs. That was when the Ravens had two deep threats in Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones. Baltimore is going to try to replicate that with Wallace and Perriman.
There were other options for the Ravens in free agency. Baltimore could've pursued Percy Harvin, Roddy White or Brandon LaFell. None, however, brought what Flacco wanted. He now has Steelers speed. Well, ex-Steelers speed.