Ravens Looking For WR Trade 'Big Time'
With the AFC North still in reach, Baltimore may be trying to add a spark to its 14th-ranked passing game.
The Ravens are "deep in the process" of trying to land a pass catcher with Tuesday's 4 p.m. trade deadline rapidly approaching, according to CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora.
The good news for the Ravens is there is an "abundance" of receivers available, but there are also plenty of teams who are interested. In addition to the Ravens calling around, the 49ers, Patriots, Lions, and Colts are also in the market.
"It's a buyer's market at wide receiver," La Canfora said.
The Ravens and other interested buyers are determining the best value and cost for receivers including Hakeem Nicks, Josh Gordon and Kenny Britt. Jon Baldwin and Greg Little are also reportedly available.
Plus some tight ends could be traded before the deadline, including Fred Davis, Marcedes Lewis and even Jordan Cameron if the price was right, per La Canfora.
A problem for Baltimore is that it is strapped for cash, with outlets reporting various salary cap numbers. After the Ravens' recent trade activity, Spotrac has them with about $3 million left under the cap.
Regardless of their financial situation, Ravens brass is calling around "big time" on wide receivers to determine the club's options.
Below is a breakdown of three receivers La Canfora pinpoints:
Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
Price: 3rd-round draft pick, maybe less
25 years old, 5-year veteran, in final year of 5-year contract, $897,500 base salary in 2013
8 catches, 67 yards and 0 touchdowns in six games so far this season
"The Ravens are also in a cap bind, and might not be able to do better than Britt to try to spark their anemic offense, given how cheap his contract is," La Canfora wrote. "The Titans had been seeking a third-round pick for him, sources said, but that's expected to lower at the deadline."
Note: In mid-September, Britt re-tweeted a suggestion that he be traded to the Ravens.
Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns
Price: 1st-round draft pick
22 years old, 2-year veteran, in 2nd year of 4-year contract, $558,355 base salary in 2013
27 catches, 450 yards and 2 touchdowns in six games so far this season
"Remember, he was a second round supplemental pick so [a trade] would have to be more than what was invested in him by the old [Browns] regime," La Canfora said. "Is anyone desperate enough to do it? I don't know, but I can tell you New England, San Francisco, Detroit, Baltimore – they are calling around big time on wide receivers."
Note: In early October, ESPN's Jamison Hensley didn't think the Browns would trade Gordon to an AFC North rival or that the Ravens would want a player one strike away from being suspended for a year.**
Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants Price: 3rd- or 2nd-round draft pick 25 years old, 5-year veteran, in final year of 5-year contract, $2.7 million base salary in 2013
27 catches, 470 yards and 0 touchdowns in eight games so far this season**
"Nicks would be the crown jewel and teams are trying to land him from the Giants," La Canfora wrote. "Other GMs believe New York could get at least a third-round pick, and possibly a second rounder, for Nicks, and several will be renewing efforts to land him following Sunday's results [the Giants beat the Eagles, 15-7]. Several GMs contacted this week believed ultimately the Giants would trade Nicks if they could fetch a third-round pick that moves to a second-rounder should Nicks re-sign with the team that trades for him, and that level of compensation is not out of the question."
Note: ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Sunday that the Giants so far have "resisted all overtures" for Nicks.
Ravens Maintain Interest In RB Scott
While the Ravens work the receiver trading block, they continue to keep an eye on the running back free-agent market.
Baltimore continues to have interest in former Bengals running back Bernard Scott, who worked out for the team two weeks ago, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson. Wilson added that former Cardinals starting running back Beanie Wells injured his Achilles during his tryout with the Ravens last week, precluding the team from pursuing him.
"Scott had an impressive audition," Wilson wrote. "Although no deal has been reached yet, the Ravens are expected to add a third running back this week to bolster the depth behind starter Ray Rice and backup Bernard Pierce. Rice has declared himself fully recovered from a strained left hip flexor that has hampered him this season, but Pierce aggravated a hamstring injury in a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers."
AFC Standings After Bye Week
While the Ravens rested Sunday, all three AFC rivals tried to better their standings in the division and conference.
Once Sunday's games concluded, there was some good news and bad news for the defending Super Bowl champs.
Let's get the bad news out of the way …
The Bengals gained even more ground on the Ravens after a 49-9 beat down of the New York Jets. Cincinnati (6-2) now holds a 2.5-game lead over Baltimore (3-4). Quarterback Andy Dalton threw for an eye-popping five touchdowns.
"If you haven't already, wake up NFL fans and turn your attention to Cincinnati," wrote ESPN's Coley Harvey. "The football team here certainly looks for real. Although the Bengals have had wins in which they seemed to control every facet of their game, none this season have been as complete as Sunday's. They put their foot on the proverbial gas and, for the first time, didn't let up."
With a pair of head-to-head matchups still to be played between the Ravens and Bengals, Baltimore can still win the AFC North.* *But it's not a bad idea for fans to start looking at the backup plan: a wild-card spot.
That's where the good news comes in.
Several wild-card contenders dropped another game Sunday, including the Jets (4-4), Dolphins (3-4), Bills (3-5), Browns (3-5) and Steelers (2-5).
Still, Baltimore is one game behind the Chargers (4-3), who also had a bye Sunday, for the final wild-card spot. The Chargers have yet to play AFC West leaders Kansas City or Denver this season.
McKinnie Speaks Out On Offensive Line Woes
Now that left tackle Bryant McKinnie is no longer playing in Baltimore after a trade to Miami, he seems more willing to talk about his former offensive line's woes.
After changes in the blocking scheme were implemented under Run Game Coordinator Juan Castillo, McKinnie said players were slowly adjusting to his style just a few months after winning the Super Bowl. But McKinnie believes everything will run more smoothly now that they've had nearly half of the season to get on the same page.
"When he first got there, Juan definitely said he wanted to make changes," McKinnie told Wilson. "I like to stick with what works, but Juan wants it done his way. Now, people are getting impatient and aren't trying to wait anymore. Everything should be running more smoothly. Juan has been telling us since the offseason that by the eighth or ninth game, things would be where we wanted it to be and everybody would get adjusted. Well, we're almost to that point in the season. So, hopefully it works out."
McKinnie stressed to Wilson that he likes Castillo, but he thinks the assistant coach could have been more flexible in adapting his style to the skill set of current personnel.
"Juan likes to develop young players, because that's what he did in Philly," McKinnie said. "He is a good coach and he does help you with your technique, but he wants it done a certain way. My thing is everybody doesn't have the exact same talent or learn things the same way. I don't feel like you can coach everybody exactly the same. Not everyone is going to react the same."
The transition to a new coach and scheme were not the only factors in the unit's early struggles.
McKinnie said injuries have impacted offensive guards Kelechi Osemele (back) and Marshal Yanda (offseason rotator cuff surgery), saying they aren't playing at their normal levels.
"You're not going to get the same results when you're not fully healthy," McKinnie said. "People don't grasp that. The fans expect you to play and perform at the same level, but injuries definitely are a factor. There's a lot of things that take place behind the scenes that people don't know about."
Dumervil Fined $7,875
Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil was fined $7,875 for his facemask penalty on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, according to multiple outlets.
The facemask was Dumervil's third penalty on the one Pittsburgh drive.
"You just can’t grab the facemask, but Ben ducks all the time," Harbaugh said following the game. "What do you say? This is the biggest, strongest quarterback in the NFL. We have to wrap him up strong and bring him down, but you feel yourself around the face area, he drops down, you have to get your fingers out of there somehow. Maybe there's a way to coach that other than talking about it, but you don't want to get the facemask."
Do Ravens Miss These Ex-Players?
Hensley reviewed ex-Ravens that signed with other teams this past offseason, asking and answering whether the team misses them eight weeks into the season:
Anquan Boldin:Yes, they could use him on third down and in the red zone.
Dannell Ellerbe: Yes, but they didn't have the salary-cap space to match the Dolphins' offer.
Paul Kruger: Not at all.
Bernard Pollard: Yes, he brought a level of intimidation.
Ed Reed: Probably in the short-term, but not for the long term with the future in better hands with Matt Elam.
Cary Williams: Hard to say, but couldn't have matched the Eagles' offer anyway.
- @AdamSchefter: A trade for Cards WR Larry Fitzgerald will be in play this off-season, in likely event a deal not completed before Tuesday's trade deadline. Come off-season, Larry Fitzgerald and Cards will be on clock, when some believe a divorce is somewhere between possible and inevitable. [Twitter]
- A wildcat package featuring backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor!(/team/roster/tyrod-taylor/0a297501-319b-417f-a88b-603a4be9cdfd/ "Tyrod Taylor") could spice up the Ravens offense. "I would not go crazy with this, particularly late in games. But in the first half, when the Ravens have had trouble jumpstarting their offense anyway, why not use Taylor's ability to create a new look for the Ravens' offense?" asked Clifton Brown. "Don't view it as taking snaps away from Flacco. View it as taking snaps away from an anemic running game." [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Here are three Ravens who should have a bigger impact after the bye than they had before it – Jacoby Jones, Jameel McClain and Ray Rice. Here’s why. [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Here is one reason for Ravens fans to be optimistic. The Ravens' upcoming schedule looks favorable. Four of their next six games are at home, including a three-game home stand against the Jets (Nov. 24), Steelers (Nov. 28), and Vikings (Dec. 8). [CSNBaltimore.com]
- Grading the 2013 Ravens at the bye week. [WNST]
- Five best Ravens from the first half of the season: Terrell Suggs, Torrey Smith, Justin Tucker, James Ihedigbo and Dumervil. [The Baltimore Sun]
- Feature story on Smith's increasing popularity, which has to do with more than becoming the No. 1 receiver. "People are big names for different reasons," Smith's wife, Chanel, said. "His is a lot for off-the-field stuff], I feel like. A lot of his [popularity] comes from [him being so in tune with his fans. I think that makes all the difference."
- @BaltimoreLuke: Tough to buy into the #Ravens making progress in the running game last week after watching Pittsburgh's first half today. Bad run defense. [Twitter]
- @BFeldmanCBS: Fmr #Oregon TE Ed Dickson gets a load cheer at Auzten, honored at midfield and shows a "Bring on the SEC" sweatshirt. [Twitter]
- @Chan95Jones: Wanna thank my oldest brother @Artj97 for coming to Foxboro with his family for the game during his bye week! That's love! [Twitter]
- @torreysmithwr: What do y'all think about this shirt? Teamtorrey.com made it up [Instagram]