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Late For Work 3/21: Will Ravens Sniff Around LT Joe Thomas Trade?

Posted Mar 21, 2016

Awaiting funeral details. Walker affects entire NFL. Torrey returns. More teams pursue Upshaw.


Will Ravens Sniff Around LT Joe Thomas Trade?

As the NFL owners meetings descend upon Boca Raton, Fla. today, chatter will continue among the league’s powerbrokers about ways to improve rosters.

While most of the blockbuster moves of free agency are in the rearview mirror, CBSSports.com’s Jason La Canfora believes two “huge trades” could be completed between the spring meetings and the NFL Draft at the end of next month.

Both could potentially affect the Ravens.

The two potential trades revolve around Browns left tackle Joe Thomas and 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

La Canfora says there are plenty of league executives who believe the Browns “should and will explore moving” the nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle. And while Thomas won’t request a trade, La Canfora writes that he welcomes the idea of being moved to a contender at this point of his career.

“Thomas will turn 32 at the end of the 2016 season and he is signed through 2019. He has essentially $30 million left on his contract over the next three years, and given the recent spending spree that just went on, with guards being paid like tackles, etc., that is a bargain given how productive Thomas remains,” wrote La Canfora.

“But it's become more clear than ever the Browns are prizing draft picks above all -- they have loaded up on 2017 compensatory picks whether by designs or frugality or a combination of both -- and they could conceivably swap Thomas, a player whose last best years will be largely wasted on a team at the bottom of the AFC North, for assets that could turn into multiple key starters.”

La Canfora named several teams that could sniff around a Thomas trade, including the Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Carolina Panthers, New England Patriots and Ravens.

The Ravens may want to cut ties with current starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, who has struggled with injuries since he signed a five-year contract extension in 2014.

“It would take some cap gymnastics and the Browns might loathe dealing with a division rival and Baltimore wouldn't be moving their high 2016 pick in any trade like this. So I'd call it highly doubtful, but worth pointing out,” wrote La Canfora.

“But given what has transpired in Cleveland this month – or, more to the point, what hasn't transpired in regards to any sort of move to improve the roster – I would think any smart, contending franchise with something of a need at tackle would be trying to get some time with Cleveland's rookie general manager this week. I know I would be.”

Meanwhile, the potential for a Kaepernick trade is still looming and the Browns are reportedly interested. If Cleveland were to bring Kaepernick to town, it could make it less likely for the Browns to use their No. 2 overall draft pick on a quarterback, pushing elite talent from other positions down the board to the Ravens at No. 6.

That’s why Ravens fans might be happy to hear that La Canfora isn’t so sure the AFC North rival will pull the trigger on a trade for the six-year veteran.

“I am not really buying the Browns' front office has much actual interest in Colin Kaepernick, at least not close to the extent that it would require to actually execute a swap,” wrote La Canfora.

Ravens Officials Visit Miami; Awaiting Funeral Details

The Ravens sent three officials down to Liberty City to support Tray Walker’s family on Saturday, a day after the young cornerback passed away following a motorcycle accident.

Agent Ron Butler told ESPN’s James Walker that the Ravens have been a “first-class organization through and through and have been nothing but helpful throughout the grieving process.”

Butler also told Walker yesterday that funeral arrangements are still pending and could be finalized in the next 24 hours.

Walker’s family and friends visited the crash site over the weekend.

Tray Walker’s Passing Affects Entire League

As the Ravens organization grieves the loss of Walker, his passing affected the entire NFL, as well.

Messages of peace and prayer were sent from Commissioner Rodger Goodell, NFL franchises, rival opponents and Walker’s former high school teammates Teddy Bridgewater and Amari Cooper.

“The loss of this young man is a terrible tragedy, and this is a sad day for everyone in the NFL,” Goodell said in a written statement. “Our thoughts are with Tray’s family and friends, his teammates, and the entire Baltimore Ravens organization.”

Torrey Smith Returns For Annual Basketball Charity Game

He may be a West-Coast guy now, but former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith will still hold his fifth-annual charity basketball game on the East Coast.

If you want to watch some of your favorite Ravens get out on the basketball court, the event will be held on April 2 (2 p.m.) at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.

In the CSNMidatlantic.com video below, Smith also talked about his rough 2015 campaign with the San Francisco 49ers and how he feels about getting a new head coach in Chip Kelly. Additionally, Smith compares the Ravens-Steelers and Maryland-Duke rivalries.

More Teams Pursuing Courtney Upshaw

We learned last week that Ravens outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw kicked off his free-agency tour by visiting the New York Jets. He wasn’t immediately signed, but more teams could be interested in his services.

The 49ers and possibly the Patriots have interest in Upshaw, a league source told ProFootballTalk.com’s Mike Florio.

“The market for Upshaw took a little while to develop, but the former Raven has three teams vying for his services,” wrote Baltimore Beatdown’s Chuck Mills. “[I]f Upshaw is signed at a higher price, the Ravens may be in line for a compensation pick during the 2017 offseason.”

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