Friday August 12th, 2011

Lee Evans hasn't topped 1,000 yards in a season since 2008, but he could be a valuable deep threat for the Ravens. (AP)

The Bills wanted to unload Lee Evans and the Ravens needed some help at wide receiver -- a fact that became even more apparent in their preseason opener Thursday -- so the two sides struck a deal Friday.

Baltimore sent a 2012 fourth-round pick to Buffalo for Evans, who's signed through 2012 at $3.275 million per season.

Either way, the Ravens have to be happy to land Evans. SI's Don Banks speculated after Baltimore's 13-6 loss to Philadelphia Thursday that this move could be coming, citing rookie Torrey Smith's subpar debut (no catches, three targets). Heading into that game, Smith had been penciled in as the starting WR opposite Anquan Boldin, with Brandon Jones, Marcus Smith and a cavalcade of no-names.

The Ravens released Derrick Mason and Todd Heap in late-July cost-cutting moves, then watched the former sign with the Jets and the latter with the Cardinals, robbing Baltimore of two of its top receiving targets from the past several seasons. They also opted not to (at least so far) re-sign T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who had 30 grabs last season.

Evans had slipped on Buffalo's depth chart after back-to-back disappointing seasons (578 yards receiving last year, 612 in 2009), though his dropping numbers can be attributed somewhat to the Bills' abysmal QB play.

While he's no longer the same receiver that topped 1,000 yards in 2006 and '08, Evans still brings a deep threat to the table. More importantly, he's a reliable target and allows Smith to drop down to the No. 3 receiver role for now. The move won't totally make up for the losses of Mason, Heap and Housmandzadeh, but Baltimore should feel better now than it did during Thursday's game in Philly.

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