Should Ravens Pursue Trade for Jerry Jeudy?
As Ravens fans watched the wide receiver free agent market, there wasn't much movement on the first day of legal tampering.
Wide receivers don't go for cheap on the open market. Could the Ravens' best path towards adding a veteran wide receiver be via trade?
An offensive playmaker who could be on the trade block is Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.
Jeudy, the 15th-overall selection in 2020, doesn't carry a high cap number, so the Ravens could afford him. He has a $2.6 million salary in 2023 that jumps to $13 million in his fifth year.
Jeudy is also friends with Lamar Jackson. The Southeast Florida natives played together when they were younger, and Jeudy attended Jackson's youth camp last year.
However, the Broncos' asking price reportedly is high. How high remains to be seen.
The Ravens don't have a second-round pick. They have the 22nd-overall pick in this year's draft and have been frequently linked to rookie wide receivers. A rookie wideout would come with four years of lower salary, but Jeudy has already shown he can be a playmaker in the NFL.
Jeudy, 23, is coming off his best season, as he had 67 catches for 972 yards and six touchdowns in 15 games.
It's been reported that Denver wide receivers Courtland Sutton and K.J. Hamler also could be available via trade.
Best Free-Agent Fits for Ravens at Wide Receiver, Cornerback, Edge Rusher
The Ravens made headlines yesterday during the unofficial opening of free agency, but not because they made any additions.
Baltimore released veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell in a cost-saving move, while guard Ben Powers and tight end Josh Oliver reportedly agreed to lucrative deals with the Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings, respectively.
Given the Ravens' cap situation, none of the departures were unexpected, nor was the team's lack of activity yesterday. General Manager Eric DeCosta made it clear in the season-review press conference that the Ravens will be selective in free agency.
With that in mind, The Baltimore Sun’s Childs Walker looked at the talent available at positions of need for the Ravens and the players who might fit them best. Here's a look at Walker's picks at wide receiver and edge rusher:
Wide receiver: Allen Lazard
"Allen Lazard is built like a tight end and grades as one of the best run blockers at his position, so he would fit seamlessly with the way the Ravens have played in recent years. New Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken used large pass catchers creatively at Georgia. Could he turn Lazard into the physical red-zone threat the Ravens have lacked at wide receiver since they traded Anquan Boldin a decade ago? They would have to look elsewhere for a deep threat to spread the field along with 2021 first-round pick Rashod Bateman. But Lazard might be the right player at a reasonable price."
Cornerback: Marcus Peters
"Peters did not regain his vintage form after he returned from a torn ACL early last season, but coaches and teammates still revere his football acumen and gift for creating turnovers. He has said he would like to stay in Baltimore. DeCosta has talked to Peters and his agent, Doug Hendrickson, about that possibility. He would be an easy fit on a one-year deal and a potential mentor to whichever cornerback the Ravens select from a deep draft class."
Edge rusher: Arden Key
"Arden Key is long, young and versatile, and he visited with the Ravens last spring before he ended up with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Perhaps they would give him another look if his market does not take off. A return engagement with [Justin] Houston might be more likely, though DeCosta said it would probably have to happen later in the free agent cycle."
Ravens Named One of Best Fits for Austin Ekeler if He's Traded
Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler reportedly has requested permission to speak with other teams about a potential trade. The Ravens were named of the three best destinations for the dual-threat star by The Draft Network’s Justin Melo.
"J.K. Dobbins continues to deal with the fallout of a season-ending knee injury suffered in 2021," Melo wrote. "Dobbins led all Ravens running backs with a measly 520 rushing yards in 2022. Both Kenyan Drake and Justice Hill are unrestricted free agents and may not return to the Ravens in 2023. Baltimore could justify acquiring Ekeler via trade."
Ekeler, 27, playing for the Ravens is certainly tantalizing but seems highly unlikely.
Dobbins, 24, looked more like himself after returning in Week 14 following a midseason knee scope. In his final four games, Dobbins rushed for 397 yards and averaged 7 yards per carry. Also, Gus Edwards, 27, has reportedly agreed to rework his contract, so the Ravens' one-two punch at running back remains intact.
Another reason the Ravens trading for Ekeler doesn't make sense is their lack of cap space and draft capital.
According to NFL Network's Marc Ross, the best fit for Ekeler does reside in the AFC North, but it's not the Ravens.
Ravens Projected to Gain Two 2024 Compensatory Picks
The Ravens' 13-year streak of having at least one compensatory pick ended this year. They will likely start a new streak next year thanks to the departure of Powers and Oliver.
Baltimore is projected to receive a fourth-round compensatory pick for Powers and a sixth-round compensatory pick for Oliver in 2024.
The Ravens also gained a seventh-round pick next year with the reported trade of safety Chuck Clark to the New York Jets.