The Ravens added more competition and depth at center Thursday afternoon.
Baltimore traded a conditional 2014 draft pick to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for center A.Q. Shipley. The deal is contingent on Shipley passing a physical.
Shipley, 26, is heading into just his second accrued season but fifth in the league. He started five games and played in 14 last year in Indianapolis.
In 476 snaps with the Colts last year, Shipley earned a high 6.9 grade from Pro Football Focus.
With the retirement of Matt Birk, the Ravens have an opening at starting center.
Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta recently expressed the team’s pleasure with Gradkowski during The Baltimore Sun’s sports forum.
“I think people probably look at Gino and think, 'Oh, he's kind of a small guy,'" DeCosta said. "He's a small-school guy and he's probably not the biggest guy physically, but I think he's a gritty, smart tough guy, very quick-footed. He fits our zone blocking scheme very well.
"He's definitely going to have every opportunity to be a starting center for us this year. He's going to have some competition. He's got the right mentality, the right makeup, the drive to be a good player. He comes from a football family. He's an important piece of the puzzle.”
Shipley, a Penn State product, was originally taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, and spent time on their practice squad. He then bounced to the Philadelphia Eagles and spent the 2010 season on their practice squad. Shipley was cut by the Eagles in 2011.
Ravens Run Game Coordinator Juan Castillo likely put in a good word for Shipley. Castillo was the Eagles’ offensive line coach in 2010 when Shipley was there.
The Colts have a starting center in Samson Satele and drafted Khalid Holmes in the fourth round this year, meaning they had an excess of centers and making Shipley expendable.
The Ravens released rookie free agent guard Jeff Braun, who played at Winters Mill High School in Westminster, Md., in a corresponding roster move.