OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Ravens are waiting on whether free-agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will sign with the Buffalo Bills or make his visit to Baltimore on Wednesday.
As strange as this might have sounded a few days ago, does it even matter?
Another receiver unexpectedly became available Tuesday, when the New York Jets confirmed Eric Decker will be released in the coming days if he can't be traded. Decker is the red-zone threat and model of consistency that quarterback Joe Flacco and the Ravens' passing attack desperately needs. He lives up to the label of "complementary receiver," which is the type of wide receiver that general manager Ozzie Newsome has wanted since the end of last season.
Decker's ability to reach the end zone is a big selling point for the league's No. 21 scoring offense. Only four players -- Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Antonio Brown and Demaryius Thomas -- have totaled more than Decker's 43 touchdown catches since 2012.
He's one of the most consistent receivers in the NFL, which would be huge for a Ravens offense that has only one player (Mike Wallace) who's ever produced a 1,000-yard receiving season. In 18 of his last 19 games, Decker has either caught passes for more than 80 yards or scored a touchdown.
Decker doesn't have the same speed as Maclin. He's not as good of a route runner and won't get as much separation. But the Ravens have enough players to stretch the field with Wallace and Breshad Perriman.
What Decker does best plays off the skill set of Wallace and Perriman. He's a big-bodied target (6-foot-3, 214 pounds) for Flacco who isn't afraid to go over the middle. He repeatedly fights his way off press coverage. He eats up defenses on slant routes. And he plays like a power forward inside the 20-yard line.
When Flacco needs to convert that critical third down or get the ball in the end zone in the fourth quarter, you can envision Decker stepping up and battling for that contested catch.
There could be some hesitation on the Ravens' part because of Decker's injuries. He was limited to a career-low three games last season because he underwent hip and shoulder surgeries. Decker has been participating in the Jets' offseason practices and has been medically cleared. Still, with what has happened to Perriman and tight end Dennis Pitta, no one would criticize the Ravens for being concerned about investing in a player coming off those injuries.
Decker's difficult 2016 season could benefit the Ravens. Baltimore, which has limited salary-cap room, might be able to sign Decker to an affordable, prove-it deal. Even if the Ravens trade for Decker (which shouldn't involve anything higher than a sixth-round pick), the team will want to reduce his $7.25 million salary in 2017.
Like Maclin, Decker is still in the prime of his career at age 30. Like Maclin, Decker has familiarity with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who was the Jets' play-caller in Decker's first season in New York.
Still, Decker and Maclin are two different receivers who can impact Baltimore's work-in-progress offense in different ways. The key for the Ravens is finding a way to acquire one of them.
Baltimore also could trade for another wide receiver or sign veteran Anquan Boldin at the start of training camp. That's a good fallback plan.
To get a difference-maker in the passing attack, the Ravens' last chance to do so is by adding Decker or Maclin this week.