Watson (Achilles) is nearing a return to full health, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reports. "I'm able to do pretty much everything to some extent. These last couple stages are very important about getting the strength back. The actual Achilles itself is intact," Watson said. "The good thing, if there is a good thing, even though I hated that it happened, I had a long time to recover and to make sure this thing is at a place where I can compete when the time is right." Watson said he's endured the "toughest, longest and most strenuous rehab" of his career in his recovery from a ruptured Achilles he sustained in a 2016 preseason game. Fortunately, he's still expected to return in time for training camp in July. The Ravens could save $3 million by cutting him this offseason, but despite being one of the most cash-strapped teams in the league, Baltimore doesn't appear to have any intentions of parting ways with the 36-year-old tight end at this point in time.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said Watson (Achilles) is ahead of schedule in his recovery, ESPN's Jamison Hensley reports. Recovering from a torn Achilles suffered last preseason, Watson still hasn't been cleared to practice as he prepares for the second season of his two-year, $7 million contract. The Ravens want to see how the 36-year-old tight end looks once he's healthy, but he could be released before the season to free up cap room. The team has other options at tight end, with Dennis Pitta, Crockett Gillmore (shoulder) and Maxx Williams (knee) all under contract for at least one more season. Gillmore and Williams are still on their rookie deals, while Pitta accepted a restructured contract that should keep his roster spot safe. Watson was the clear top option last preseason, but he'll likely have to compete for snaps this time around.
The Ravens may take a patient approach with Watson, who missed all of last season after tearing his Achilles in the preseason, ESPN.com reports. Coming off a breakout 2015 season, Watson joined the Ravens on a two-year, $7 million contract and was set to open 2016 as the leader of a deep tight end corps. Despite the re-emergence of Dennis Pitta atop a still-crowded depth chart, Watson's reasonable contract could persuade the Ravens to give him another shot, assuming the 36-year-old is healthy in time for training camp. Given his age and lengthy rehab process, Watson may be gunning for more of a committee role, whereas last year he had a shot at a near every-down job. It's also quite possible the Ravens will release him or ask him to accept a pay cut -- though the same can be said for Pitta.
Watson suffered a torn Achilles on the first snap of Saturday's preseason game against the Lions. Signed to a two-year, $7 million contract in the offseason, the 36-year-old Watson was locked in as Baltimore's starting tight end. The only good news for the team is that it boasts strong depth at the position, though Maxx Williams (undisclosed) and Dennis Pitta (finger) are nursing injuries of their own, with neither available for Saturday's exhibition. Crockett Gillmore, the starter for most of last season, figures to get the majority of first-team snaps in Saturday's game. Gillmore could take on a lot of Watson's planned workload in the regular season, as he's a much better blocker than Williams or Pitta. Watson will miss the entire season.
Watson and the Ravens have agreed in principle to a deal, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports. This doesn't seem like a good fit at first glance, as the Ravens used a third-round pick in the 2014 draft on Crockett Gillmore (back/shoulder), then selected Maxx Williams in the second round last season. However, Gillmore needs multiple surgeries this offseason and is likely looking at a prolonged timetable, and Williams didn't impress as a rookie. Known primarily for his blocking ability throughout a lengthy career, the 35-year-old Watson matched or surpassed his career-best receiving marks in every major category in 2015, finishing with a shocking 74-825-6 receiving line on 109 targets. Even if Gillmore in't ready by Week 1, Watson will be a long shot to approach those numbers now that he isn't serving as Drew Brees' primary tight end.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|11||11/19||@Green Bay Packers||23||7.89|
|3 Year Avg||47||31||320||3||17||10.32||50|