Benjamin Watson signed a 2-year contract with the Baltimore Ravens worth $7 million with $3 million guaranteed. He comes to the Ravens after posting a career year with the New Orleans Saints. Watson had 74 receptions for 825 yards and six touchdowns last season.
The Ravens added Watson to the mix of young tight ends during the offseason. He is looking forward to showcasing how he is a complete player in Baltimore.
“I think that as a tight end … One of the great things I love about the position is you have the chance to do a lot of everything,” Watson said after practice. “Sometimes, that is the difficult part of the position – you are asked to block guys that are twice your size, but then run with guys that are half your size.”
He is looking forward to being involved in both the running and passing game with the Ravens. The fact that the game plan will evolve on a weekly basis is intriguing to the veteran tight end.
“I think that my role will be some of both [blocking and catching passes] – a lot of what I’ve been doing the last 12 years of my career,” Watson explained. “I’ll be doing a lot of those same things. I think that roles also change week to week, depending on personnel and things like that.
“My role coming here was to learn what to do, learn the offense and then be available for whatever [offensive coordinator Marc] Trestman and [John] Harbaugh have for me.”
Watson believes that having a veteran quarterback such as Joe Flacco will help him get acclimated to the offense. Flacco has always liked to throw to his tight ends. The two are taking advantage of training camp to get their chemistry down before the start of the season.
“Reps always help. One of the things about training camp is there are a lot of guys, and usually, a lot of reps to spread around,” Watson said. “But anytime you can get more reps with the quarterback, more reps in the offense, hearing the play in the huddle and getting to the line and going through the checks in my brain over and over again, it always helps for me.”
The goal is to be ready for the season opener against the Buffalo Bills. Watson has become the leader of a young tight end group that includes Crockett Gilmore, Maxx Williams and newly converted wide receiver Darren Waller.
Watson is the most proven of the group outside of Dennis Pitta who is working his way back from a hip injury that had derailed his career.
The Ravens have always been a team that embraces veterans who join their team. Watson and Eric Weddle are the 2016 veteran additions. They can rely on the veterans that are already entrenched in the locker room for guidance when they leave the Ravens facility in Owings Mills.
Watson said he is making the adjustment as he gets settled into the area.
“It is always a process, but every day has been better. I can say that this organization has opened their arms to me and my family 100 percent,” Watson said with a smile. “Everything from letting us know about different restaurants, to schools, to doctors, all of those sorts of things. [It has been good] coming into a locker room that has established veterans in the locker room – guys who have been in the league – but also a good group of young players.”