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NFL Free Agency 2018: Offensive playmakers Ravens should be targeting

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USA Today Sports

NFL Free Agency 2018: Offensive playmakers Ravens should be targeting

It's been a sad couple of days for football fans with the 2017 season in the rear view mirror.

But with that comes the excitement of free agency.

33 days from now, organizations can begin shopping around for new playmakers, something the Ravens will most definitely be participating in.

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During his "State of the Ravens" press conference, owner Steve Bisciotti even validated the future shopping spree by saying, "I think that there is a really good chance that we won’t be drafting a defensive tackle in the first round. We will be exploring all options in free agency and in the draft for targets for Joe [Flacco]."

Everyone in Baltimore just breathed a sigh of relief.

Besides resigning Mike Wallace, what kind of free agent targets are out there for Flacco?

Jarvis Landry (WR)

The 25-year old is one of the top receivers hitting free agency. In 2017, he had 112 receptions for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. While he's mentioned a desire to stay in Miami, the team may not be able to dish out the amount of money a top receiver deserves.

Landry's $868,728 salary will take a big jump as Spotrac has his calculated market value at five-years, $69 million.

It will be costly, but if the Ravens can snag him up, the return on investment could be huge.

Allen Robinson (WR)

The 24-year old tore his ACL during Week 1 of the Jaguars season, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Standing at 6-3, Robinson had a huge 2015 season with 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. His market value is listed at five-years, $68 million and if the Ravens want him, they'll will need to act fast as the Jaguars have the money to blow on him.

Jimmy Graham (TE)

Ending the 2017 season with 10 touchdowns looks pretty good to potential employers. While his total yards and reception numbers were down, Graham is still proving efficient at 31-years old.

His projected market value currently stands at three-years, $21 million, but the Ravens are sparse at the TE position. Benjamin Watson is considering retirement and Nick Boyle has a history of missing time with injuries.

Flacco also has recorded success with his former tight ends like Dennis Pitta and Todd Heap, so shooting for Graham could worthwhile.

Sammy Watkins (WR)

After having only one 1,000-yard season between 2014 and 2016, Watkins showed potential with the Los Angeles Rams in 2017.

While he only earned 39 receptions, 593 yards and eight touchdowns, Watkins could be a long-term solution at the tender age of 24-years old.

Spotrac has his projected market value at three-years, $18 million, but Watkins has expressed interest in staying with the Rams after the Bills surprisingly traded him for E.J. Gaines and a second-round pick last August.

Paul Richardson (WR)

2017 was a career-best for 25 year-old Richardson, racking up 44 receptions for 703 yards and six touchdowns. 

However, the Seahawks won't go over $5.5 million a year to resign their No. 2 wide receiver, per ESPN's John ClaytonSpotrac has his market value listed at four-years, $25.4 million, slightly above what the Seahawks are willing to offer.

Richardson brings speed to the table and still has a lot of room for growth. If picked up, he could cause a splash over time.

RELATED: RAY LEWIS NAMED FIRST-BALLOT HALL OF FAMER

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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USA Today Sports

Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. 

The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.

The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School. 

In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.

17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon. 

Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.

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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.

“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.

The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.

Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.

Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.

The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.

This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.

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