Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman

Nelson Agholor and Rashod Bateman


The Baltimore Ravens made a decision this offseason that left WR Rashod Bateman (7) shocked.

He got a contract extension from the Baltimore Ravens this offseason, but Rashod Bateman never saw it coming. Instead, the wide receiver was caught off guard by being handed fresh terms, although he didn’t waste any time signing.

Bateman admitted to reporters on Tuesday, May 28 he “didn’t know what was going to happen with me. I didn’t know if I was going to be here, you know traded, anything.”

The player selected 27th overall in the 2021 NFL draft revealed, “The extension definitely came out of nowhere,” per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, but Bateman also called it a “no-brainer” to agree to stay in Baltimore.

Ravens WR Rashod Bateman said the extension “came out of nowhere” and that it was a “no-brainer” to sign

Bateman’s surprise at how the issue of his future was resolved this offseason is understandable. He struggled to stay on the field during three seasons in the pros and failed to live up to his draft status and become the focal point of a receiving corps seemingly always needing a go-to playmaker.

Now, the Ravens desperately need the oft-injured former first-round pick to produce a breakout season. Fortunately, one All-Pro teammate is predicting big things after seeing a positive difference in Bateman.

Ravens Made Surprising Decision About Rashod Bateman

The Ravens haven’t got close to the return they would’ve expected when they drafted Bateman. He’s chipped in with just 93 catches, 1,167 yards and a mere four touchdowns since.

Injuries have been the biggest problem. Bateman has only made 21 starts out of a possible 51, amid groin, foot and hamstring issues.

Despite the setbacks, there are core talents in Bateman’s game that make sense of the historic decision by the Ravens to extend his deal. Specifically, the 24-year-old has the speed to stretch the field on any play.

This 55-yard touchdown catch against the New York Jets in Week 1 of the 2022 season showcased Bateman’s vertical skills.

The Ravens and franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson need more of this to expand what’s been a small-ball passing game. Bateman can be the player to take the top off of defenses or give fellow wideouts like Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor more room to work underneath.

That’s the theory, but things have rarely worked out for Bateman. He’s aware he hasn’t done enough, particularly last season, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic: “I feel like there was a lot of things that I could have done differently (last year), to help Lamar, to help the team.”

Bateman: “I feel like there was a lot of things that I could have done differently (last year), to help Lamar, to help the team.”

Bateman finally getting on track would make it easier to understand the Ravens barely adding any marquee talent at receiver via free agency or the draft. Save for a fourth-round pick already touted to become a prolific deep threat.

It’s a role Bateman could also make his own, based on one pass-catcher’s opinion.

Mark Andrews Predicting Big Things From Teammate

Ravens fans have been waiting long enough for Bateman to make the grade. You could forgive them for being dubious about any fresh hype created by a new contract.

Perhaps an endorsement from three-time Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews can convince the doubters. He’s confidently predicted “It’s going to be a big year for Rashod Bateman. I’m calling it now,” per Zrebiec.

Andrews on Rashod Bateman: “He looks incredible. He looks as put together as he’s ever been. It’s going to be a big year for Rashod Bateman. I’m calling it now.”

A bulked-up Bateman should make more contested catches. He should also be more dynamic once he gets the ball in his hands. Those are areas where Bateman needs to refine his mechanics after dropping eight passes and breaking just two tackles the last two seasons, according to Pro Football Reference.

A more versatile Bateman who can stay healthy could vault straight to the forefront of Jackson’s list of favorite targets.

James Dudko covers the New York Giants, Washington Commanders, New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens for He has covered the NFL and world soccer since 2011, with bylines at FanSided, Prime Time Sports Talk and Bleacher Report before joining Heavy in 2021. More about James Dudko

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