With the Deadline Looming, Three Ravens Trade Suggestions
With the trade deadline fast approaching on Halloween at 4 p.m., there are a host of websites speculating moves they think should happen. I emphasize "should" and not "could" because these are not based on reports or even rumors. Just clever ideas by writers.
You can never put it past General Manager Ozzie Newsome to make a trade.
He's always open for business and willing to listen to an offer. He frequently moves around on draft day, dealt defensive Timmy Jernigan to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, pulled off two trades for offensive linemen before the season and reportedly tried to make a deal for running back Adrian Peterson two weeks ago.
I have no insider information, but my gut tells me* if* the Ravens were to make a trade, they'd bring somebody to Baltimore rather than ship somebody out. That said, here are three suggestions of which Ravens could be traded away and my take on the ideas:
ESPN: Terrance West
"It's difficult to find any trade candidates because injuries have gutted the Ravens' roster. But West could be the odd-man out in the backfield. Alex Collins has taken a lead role, Danny Woodhead is set to come off injured reserve soon and Buck Allen is a backup who has value on special teams. Plus, West will be a free agent at the end of the season. The biggest question is how much interest would West draw while dealing with a calf injury."
My take: This isn't happening. Clearly this was an assignment given by an editor to a writer to come up with one name for a trendy article. That's not a knock on ESPN. It happens all the time on myriad websites. As such, West simply seemed like an option based on free-agent status and depth at the position. But there's really not even that much depth as Allen and Collins were the only healthy options, which is why the Ravens signed Bobby Rainey off the street a couple weeks ago. And ask yourself if you'd be happy if Newsome traded for somebody in the middle of the season that's injured. It's not any different for the other 31 teams.
Bleacher Report: Maxx Williams"The Baltimore Ravens roster requires multiple upgrades. One way to address that issue would be to leverage positions of strength. Even after Crockett Gillmore's season-ending knee injury, the Ravens still go three deep at tight end. … Williams was the first tight end drafted in 2015, but he's failed to live up to expectations. … Coaches always believe they can get the most out of a former top talent. Williams may be best served in a new situation where more opportunities exist."
My take: Again, not happening. Williams' lack of opportunities has more to do with injuries than getting stuck behind more productive teammates. Williams was put on injured reserve in Week 5 last year and an ankle injury has hampered him most of this year. So, the Ravens haven't given up on his potential, and the depth at this unit has been deceptive given injuries and suspensions.
Baltimore Beatdown: Brandon Carr
"Rather than desperately trade for a player to push them towards the playoffs, I believe this team should acquire assets for the future. By this, I mean trading away the most productive cornerback on the Ravens roster: Brandon Carr. … He's stuffing the stat sheet, healthy, reliable and a valuable veteran presence. For what he brings to the table, a third-round pick sounds fair. I believe a team who feels a strong cornerback away from a deep postseason run will find a third-round pick a balanced trade. This gives a teams' defense a great starting candidate, while also giving the Ravens a pick for the future."
My take: Of the three suggestions, this one makes the most sense in terms of dangling a carrot that another team would likely be interested in. And, it's a position that really does have depth, especially with Jaylen Hill's return and Maurice Canady likely returning. That said, this still isn't happening. Jimmy Smith's Achilles has been acting up, limiting him in practice the last three weeks and in the Oakland game. Plus, the Ravens have so many injuries elsewhere already, they're not looking to give away their most durable player. It took years to get this position stable after injury-riddled seasons. I get the idea of building for the future, but the Ravens haven't given up on this season.
As I said above, my gut says a trade would more likely bring somebody to Baltimore. Nobody's specifically been linked to Baltimore, but NFL.com named 12 players to keep an eye on over the next six days:
WR Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers
QB Eli Manning, New York Giants
CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants
TE Eric Ebron, Detroit Lions
LT Duane Brown, Houston Texans
OLB Hau'oli Kikaha, New Orleans Saints
CB Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts
RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
RB Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals
WR Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins
DT Marcell Dareus, Buffalo Bills
CB Vontae Davis, Indianapolis Colts
A couple notes on Bryant since we are frequently asked about potentially bringing him to Baltimore: 1) Yes, he definitely wants out of Pittsburgh. "If they don't try to include me more and continue to do the same thing, then I want out period," Bryant told ESPN's Josina Anderson. 2) No, the Steelers aren't going to trade him. Head Coach Mike Tomlin said he's "not available via trade." 3) Even if the Steelers were bluffing and really are willing to trade Bryant, they're not sending him to their top rival. 4) What's the value? (See tweeted video below.)
Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle Say They Can Play Better
Some of the more memorable big plays that have gashed the Ravens defense this season happened against two unlikely veterans.
Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle, who were dubbed by many media members as one of the best safety duos this offseason, told Lee that they agree they can play better after allowing big-chunk yards that contributed to losses this year.
Jefferson missed a tackle against Vikings running back Latavius Murray last week that led to a 29-yard touchdown, but the play that irritates him the most was biting on the Bears' trick halfback touchdown pass the week prior.
"That's going to stick with me forever," he told Lee. "We were whipping some butt in that game, and on that play, I was being aggressive, just being me. I'm an aggressive guy, that's what I do, and they got me. I was undisciplined on that, and that's always going to be on my mind every game. That's going to help me be a better player."
For Weddle, he already took blame for attempting to strip Bears running back Jordan Howard instead of tackling him in overtime two weeks ago. As a result, Howard busted through for a 53-yard run that set up the game-winning field goal.
Jefferson and Weddle are ranked as the Nos. 63 and 68 safeties in the league by Pro Football Focus.
"Overall, however, the pair has been productive," Lee wrote. "Jefferson is tied for second on the defense in sacks with two and ranks second in tackles with 35, while Weddle is tied for second on the defense in interceptions with two and ranks third in tackles with 33."
When asked about Jefferson Monday, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said he is "the least" of the Ravens worries. Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees said the safeties, along with the rest of the defense, are "pressing a little bit" trying to make a big play.
"If you miss a tackle back there, everybody in the park knows it and everybody in the world knows it," Pees said. "If you miss one up front, nobody kind of knows it unless somebody gets it on the ground in the back. I'm happy with them. They're two good pros."
"I feel like we're extremely close, and we know how each other thinks and plays on the field," Weddle added. "It's still about getting that game experience. We're working towards becoming what we should become, and that's being the best tandem back there."
Dolphins Wary of the Ravens Despite Recent Losing Stretch
As the Ravens are trying to turn things around after losing four of the last five games, they can draw inspiration from the 2012 season.
It's hard to remember right now, but the Ravens also lost four of the last five games that year before going on a Super Bowl run.
Guess who hasn't forgotten that fact? Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase.
That's because Gase was an assistant coach for the Denver Broncos at the time. They convincingly beat Baltimore at the end of the season, but then lost to them in the divisional round of the playoffs four weeks later.
"To me, it's so early in the season," Gase told Baltimore media, per The Baltimore Sun's Edward Lee. "I know a lot of people don't think that way but we've got a long ways to go here. It really is all about getting better every week. That's the one thing that I've known about Coach [John] Harbaugh. I feel like I've heard too many times that things aren't going in the direction they wanted and then all of a sudden, it's like six straight wins or seven straight wins and then they're in the playoffs.
"When I was in Denver, that's how it happened. They got in the playoffs and the next thing you know, we're going home and they're going to the Super Bowl a couple of weeks later."
The only way the Ravens can pull off a similar run is if they remain resolute, which they certainly have communicated this week. Ravens defensive leader Terrell Suggs is leading that charge.
When asked by a reporter if the defense is pressing too hard to live up to preseason hype, Suggs didn't mince words.
"Hype, huh? Pow, shots fired," Suggs replied. "Nah, we had Brandon [Williams] out a couple times. We lost [Brent] Urban. But we still can be historic. We still can be magical. [Forget] hype, you know what I'm saying? We know who we are and we know what we're about."
- "Sunday's loss to Minnesota has crippled Baltimore's chances to win the AFC North, which has fallen by more than 25 percentage points in ESPN's FPI over the last two weeks. The Steelers have a nearly 95 percent chance to win the AFC North, the highest odds to win a division of any team in the NFL." [ESPN]