Clock Ticking, Final Trade Predictions
Will the Ravens actually pull the trigger on a trade prior to today’s 4 p.m. deadline?
John Harbaugh isn’t going to give away the ending.
"I wouldn't comment on it anyway if I did [expect a move]," the head coach said Monday afternoon. "So, it's probably best just to stay away from that."
Let’s put it this way: at the very least, the Ravens are doing their due diligence and have been “all over the receiver market,” according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. The Ravens will know precisely the cost of adding another pass catcher to the team and probably already know what they are willing to give up in exchange.
Despite working the phones, the Ravens may not have enough ammunition in terms of the salary cap and draft picks, which “seemingly works against another trade” wrote The Baltimore Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec.
“I don't anticipate the Ravens making a deal before the 4 p.m. deadline, but the Ravens proved this month that they're looking to make this team better,” added ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
After signing free agent running back
The Ravens have already traded away three 2014 draft picks this season and may get one back:
- Dealt fourth- and fifth-round selections to Jacksonville for left tackle
- Dealt a seventh-rounder to Indianapolis for center
- Will receive a conditional selection after trading left tackle Bryant McKinnie to Miami
The other factor to consider is the number of compensatory picks the Ravens may be awarded by the league. Baltimore lost four qualifying unrestricted free agents (UFAs) to other teams – Paul Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe, Cary Williams and Ed Reed – but all of the free agents they signed this offseason were after June 1, which means they don’t count toward the compensatory pick formula and won’t counterbalance the UFAs lost.
In June, Russell Street Report’s Brian McFarland predicted the Ravens will get four compensatory picks in 2014, but isn’t sure which rounds they will be in.
“Based on last year’s numbers, it would appear that the best the Ravens could hope for (assuming none of the 4 miss significant time due to injuries) would be a 3rd, 2 4ths and a 5th round Comp Picks and the worst they could get (again, assuming no injuries) would be 2 4ths, a 5th and a 6th,” McFarland wrote.
The Ravens are only half of the equation. The other teams’ willingness to part with players is the other.
La Canfora gives his predictions on the likelihood that receivers with plenty of trading buzz actually get dealt:
Titans WR Kenny Britt: Strong chance of a deal
“These trade talks have been going on for weeks, with the Titans asking for too much in the eyes of some clubs, and many of those clubs looking at Britt, who has been troubled off the field and is struggling on it, as a fallback plan in case they couldn't land a better prospect like Josh Gordon or Hakeem Nicks,” La Canfora wrote. “Well, it's about time to make this happen and, realistically, for someone with his baggage who is a free agent in March and who hasn't contributed much in a while, getting more than a fifth-round pick would be tough. Ultimately, a change of scenery makes sense for all involved, and it could be New England, Baltimore, or San Francisco, who are all over the receiver market.”
Browns WR Greg Little: Strong chance of a deal
“This is another situation where a change seems inevitable, and with so many contending teams in need of another pass catcher, Little becomes a more viable option in particular if the price is just too high on Nicks and Gordon,” La Canfora wrote. “The Browns have been in contact with a good chunk of the league ahead of the deadline, and the front office tandem of Joe Banner and Mike Lombardi are willing wheeler-dealers and they are looking to churn the roster some here.”
Browns WR Josh Gordon: Fair chance of a deal
“He has been a stud since returning from suspension … but it's the fact that he's already reached a stage in the drug program where his next positive test puts him out a year that's the problem,” La Canfora wrote. “Teams have been calling for weeks on him and the Browns have let other clubs know they are willing to listen to offers on pretty much anyone on their roster, but would likely take a second-round pick and a player with some value, at the least, to pry him away. There have been enough discussions about him that I can't rule it out entirely, but someone would have to really give the Browns something to think about with their offer.”
Giants WR Hakeem Nicks: Weak chance of a deal
“Teams have been calling since the Giants fell to 0-6, and the Giants have resisted all temptation,” La Canfora wrote. “Now, suddenly back in the mix in the NFC East at 2-6, the odds of dealing Nicks are looking bleaker. Still, if someone offers a second-round pick, with provisions for more should Nicks re-sign with that new team, then you never know. It's a non-Giants like thing to do, and their most modest two-game win streak makes it less likely. Nicks' status as a pending unrestricted free agent probably limits the offers to more like a third-round pick, but the Giants have a lot of needs, and they very well may lose Nicks anyway in March. They also have options at receiver. So I'm not going to rule it out entirely.”
Dalton Best QB In AFC North?
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton was a stud in Sunday’s thumping of the New York Jets, throwing for 325 yards and a whopping five touchdowns.
But that wasn’t the only game he’s played well in this season, throwing for more yards and touchdowns than AFC North rival quarterbacks
Through eight weeks of the season, Dalton is the division’s best quarterback, says CSNBaltimore.com’s Clifton Brown.
“He’s a major reason why the Bengals (6-2) are threatening to run away with the division,” Brown wrote. “Many things factor into a quarterback’s performance, but the bottom line is that Dalton has been more consistent this season than both Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers. Let’s not even talk about the Browns’ quarterback situation.”
For the Ravens to make a run and knock the Bengals off the top spot in the division, Brown says the Ravens need Flacco to step up.
“Flacco has never been a huge stats guy, but he has been a winner,” Brown wrote. “At 3-4, the Ravens need to play better offensively, and that means Flacco must play better. That’s the heavy burden that comes with being a highly paid franchise quarterback. Look for Flacco, who has not thrown an interception the past two games, to have a strong November and December. If the Ravens are going to make the playoffs, Flacco doesn’t have a choice.”
RB Scott Not A Savior
He should not be viewed as a player that will magically solve the Ravens’ running game woes, however.
“Scott adds depth to the Baltimore backfield and a little intrigue,” wrote The Sun’s Matt Vensel. “No offense to him, but he should not be viewed as a potential savior for the Ravens, who are last in the NFL at 2.8 yards per carry. He was simply one of the better options on a thin market that included backs like Michael Turner, Cedric Benson, Ryan Grant and Kevin Smith.”
If the Ravens are going to turn around the run game, the offensive line must do its part and Ray Rice has to get back to being Ray Rice.
“Scott isn't going to dramatically improve the running game. The Ravens are hoping Rice will do that,” Brown wrote. “The Ravens are really hoping that Rice returns to form in the second half of the season. Rice remains extremely important to the Ravens' fortunes, and his struggles have severely hampered the offense. The offensive line has not opened enough holes for him, and Rice has looked a half-step slower at times following his hip injury in Week 2.”
- Cardinals General Manager Steve Keim squashed rumors started by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the franchise would trade receiver Larry Fitzgerald. "I can tell you two things, and I want to make this clear and simple," Keim said. "I have not had one conversation with another NFL team regarding a trade with Larry Fitzgerald. Number two, starting with (team president) Michael Bidwill down, it is our intent for Larry Fitzgerald to retire a Cardinal, period. So if there was any gray area there, guys, let me know and we'll get that out." [FoxSports.com]
- @mattvensel: Anquan Boldin's last four games: 14 catches, 179 yards, 0 touchdowns.
Tandon Doss's last four games: 13 catches, 239 yards, 0 touchdowns. [Twitter]
- @mattvensel: It has been fun watching the reactions to these simple numbers. RT @Langley486 @mattvensel You're going to stir some trouble, Matt! [Twitter]
- Could miss Ravens game … @RapSheet: Clarity on #Bengals LB Rey Maualuga, who was carted off Sunday: Source says it’s an MCL sprain, likely out 3-4 weeks. [Twitter]
- @BaltimoreLuke: A few have asked about Beanie Wells injury and whether the #Ravens are responsible for medical bills. Tryout players sign an injury waiver. [Twitter]
Torrey Smithfrom the top spot … @PSchrags: At this time yesterday, Calvin Johnson was 20th in the NFL in receiving yards. At this time today, he leads the NFL in receiving yards.
- Ravens midseason stock watch. [ESPN]
- Harbaugh talks about his team feeling rejuvenated and healthy after the bye weekend. [CSNBaltimore.com]