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Ravens reach agreement with TE Watson on 2-year deal

March 9, 2016

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — The Baltimore Ravens addressed their passing game Wednesday, reaching agreement on a two-year deal with free agent tight end Benjamin Watson and giving wide receiver Kamar Aiken a second-round tender.

Watson had 74 catches for 825 yards and six touchdowns with New Orleans last season.

The 35-year-old Watson fills out a position for Baltimore that was in desperate need of depth. Starter Crockett Gillmore had offseason surgery on both shoulders; reserve Nick Boyle received a 10-game suspension in February for using performance enhancing substances; and it is unlikely veteran Dennis Pitta will return from a second hip injury.

Watson was selected in the first round of the 2004 NFL draft by New England. Over 12 years with the Patriots, Cleveland and the Saints, the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Watson has 434 receptions for 4,963 yards and 38 TDs.

He’s durable, too: Over the last four seasons, Watson has missed just one game.

Aiken had 75 catches for 944 yards and five touchdowns in 2015, all career highs. After starter Steve Smith was lost for the season on Nov. 1, Aiken had at least five receptions in nine straight games — the longest such run in franchise history.

On the first day of free agency, the Ravens did not offer a tender to wide receiver Marlon Brown, safety Brynden Trawick and defensive tackle Micajah Reynolds. Brown had only 14 catches last season and missed the final six games with a back injury.

Although Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco now has a new target in Watson, the offensive line lost Kelechi Osemele, who left to sign a five-year deal with Oakland with up to $60 million.

Veteran backup quarterback Matt Schaub, who started two games for Baltimore last season, signed with Atlanta.

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