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Late for Work 2/28: Blockbuster Trade Scenario Has Ravens Acquiring Amari Cooper 

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper (19) catches a touchdown during an NFL Super Wild Card Weekend playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.

Blockbuster Trade Scenario Has Ravens Acquiring Amari Cooper for Marcus Peters

Trading for Marcus Peters during the 2019 season has paid huge dividends for the Ravens. Could the All-Pro cornerback now be on the other end of a trade involving the Ravens?

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine proposed a blockbuster deal that has the Ravens trading Peters and a 2022 third-round pick to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper.

"The Baltimore Ravens could use a proven No. 1 receiver," Ballentine wrote. "Marquise Brown needed 146 targets just to crack 1,000 yards this past season, and 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman still has a lot to prove after a 515-yard campaign in his rookie year."

After gaining 1,000-plus receiving yards in five of his first six seasons, Cooper finished with 865 yards this past season. His 68 receptions were the second-lowest of his career, although he equaled his career high with eight touchdown catches.

Ballentine said that the deal makes financial sense for both teams.

"The Cowboys have Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson set to hit free agency. CeeDee Lamb is now the team's top receiver, while Amari Cooper's $22 million cap hit doesn't make sense and will make it difficult to retain either," Ballentine wrote. "Per Over The Cap, trading Cooper would cost them $6 million in dead cap but free up $16 million.

"Trading Peters would cost the Ravens $5.5 million in dead cap but save $10 million. Dallas could then work out an extension that would soften that $10 million cap hit and still have money to put toward retaining Gallup or Wilson."

Ballentine added that Anthony Averett would be a worthy replacement for Peters. Averett, 27, is a pending free agent.

Peters, who has a cap hit of $15 million in 2022, is often mentioned as a candidate to either be cut or traded, but General Manager Eric DeCosta said recently that he "loves" Peters and expects him to be back.

My take: Even if DeCosta were open to trading Peters, Ballentine's proposal isn't a great deal for the Ravens.

Cooper is a talented player who would make any offense better, but DeCosta has said that he's comfortable with the team's wide receivers, and the Ravens have arguably the best pass-catching tight end in Mark Andrews. The Ravens have more pressing needs.

Moreover, the Ravens sorely missed Peters' ball-hawking ability this past season. Peters, who missed all 2021 after suffering a torn ACL in the preseason, said he expects to be back on the field in June or July.

Also, knowing how much DeCosta's values picks, would he really be willing to part with a third-rounder?

Who is Ravens' Dream Target in the Draft?

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay identified every team's dream target in the draft. For the Ravens, it's Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner.

Kay said that even if the Ravens don't trade or release Peters, Gardner would be an outstanding addition due to his mix of size, skill and athleticism.

"The Cincinnati product is excellent in coverage, excelling in both man and zone schemes," Kay wrote. "He's smooth and quick while still standing a towering 6'3", a stature that allows him to go toe-to-toe with any opposing wideout.

"With little depth at the position behind Peters and Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore would be making a mistake to pass on Gardner if he falls to No. 14. The selection would make the Ravens secondary one of the league's best when healthy."

Meanwhile, The Athletic's Nick Baumgardner said Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd is a prospect to watch for the Ravens.

"Everything about Lloyd's tape screams Baltimore Ravens linebacker," Baumgardner said. "He knows what he's doing, at all times. He can create havoc in the backfield, he can shift and bother backs and tight ends in the middle of the field in coverage, and he is just an all-around damn good player. His testing scores might not be overwhelming, but his film is tough to ignore.

"Feels like a Raven. The Ravens will get a chance to see for themselves."

Deep Draft Bodes Well for Ravens

The experts believe there's a lot of depth in this year's draft, and that good news for the Ravens.

"There are starters to be had through five rounds at tight end, interior line, running back, linebacker, safety and wideout. That bodes well for a team like Baltimore, which will have five picks in the fourth round, and seven overall in the third and fourth," NBC Sports’ Peter King wrote.

Appearing on King's podcast, NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah said: "One of the things I like about this draft is the uncertainty. … A corner like [LSU's] Derek Stingley — if he goes in the top five or he goes 40, I won't be surprised. That's going to be part of the fun of this draft. There's so much we don't know."

By the way, Jeremiah mocked Stingley to the Ravens at No. 14 in his latest mock draft.

Joe Hortiz Interviews for Steelers' GM Job

Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz has interviewed for the Pittsburgh Steelers' GM position.

Hortiz interviewed for the New York Giants' GM job last month and reportedly was on the short list for the Chicago Bears' GM opening.

Hortiz began his career with the Ravens in 1998 as a personnel assistant. He has been director of player personnel for the past three seasons.

DeCosta said during his season-ending press conference that it's just a matter of time before Hortiz lands a GM job.

"Joe is smart, he's a great evaluator, he's got a strong voice. He's always been, kind of, my sidekick. For probably the last, I don't know, maybe, 11 years, Joe has sat next to me in the Draft Room and has kind of watched what we do and how we do it," DeCosta said. " … He's got a great skill set, he's a great collaborator, he's got a great eye for talent."

Lamar Jackson Responds to Yannick Ngakoue Recruiting Calais Campbell

There have been several instances of Ravens players recruiting free agents on social media, but it works both ways.

Former Raven and current Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Yannick Ngakoue is advocating for his team to sign Ravens defensive end Calais Campbell, who is a pending free agent. Ngakoue and Campbell were teammates in Jacksonville and Baltimore.

Lamar Jackson responded to Ngakoue's tweet and said Campbell prefers wearing purple.

Campbell, who turns 36 just before next season kicks off, has made it clear that he's determined to win a Super Bowl before he retires.

Quick Hits

  • Jackson has the ninth-best odds to win the NFL MVP award next season, according to FanDuel. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes are the co-favorites.
  • Ravens Wire’s Kevin Oestreicher gave the Ravens' re-signing of veteran safety Tony Jefferson an "A" grade.

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