Four Reasons Ravens Make Another WR Trade, Potential Candidates
After the Ravens traded a reported 2018 seventh-round pick for deep-threat wide receiver Chris Givens Saturday, General Manager Ozzie Newsome could still be working the phones for another potential trade.
The Ravens (1-3) are very much alive in an AFC that features a whopping 12 of 16 teams with a .500 record or below. Everything is still ahead of them, but their wide receiver corps is decimated with its top two receivers – Steve Smith Sr. (back) and Breshad Perriman (knee) – injured for an undetermined amount of time and Michael Campanaro (back) on injured reserve.
"[T]he Ravens might have to use some of their draft capital – or maybe even a relatively superfluous good player – to get another receiver before the Nov. 3 trading deadline," wrote TheMMQB.com's Peter King. "In fact, much sooner than that, probably.
"It's not that GM Ozzie Newsome would be in panic mode. It's more like realism mode."
King gives four reasons he would not be "remotely surprised" if the Ravens made another trade this month:
*1. "Baltimore's not afraid." *Here's the Ravens' recent trade history: nine player trades in the past 29 months. Newsome pulled the trigger on a trade for starting left tackle Eugene Monroe, giving up fourth and fifth-round picks on Oct. 3, 2014.
*2. "The receiver depth chart is the worst in the league right now." *Even with Givens, the Ravens need more healthy bodies as they only have three other receivers: journeyman-turned starter Kamar Aiken, third-year former undrafted rookie Marlon Brown and sixth-round rookie Darren Waller.
3. "The Ravens have to think they're still in the race."Baltimore's next three opponents are: vs. Cleveland (1-3), at San Francisco (1-3) and at Arizona (3-1). "If the Ravens are 3-4 then, with an advantageous November coming (San Diego at home, bye, Jacksonville at home, St. Louis at home, at Cleveland), you can see why Baltimore would look down the road and think the season is very much alive," wrote King.
4. "Look at Baltimore's draft depth they can deal from in 2016."Based on compensatory draft pick projections, the Ravens could have four fourth-round picks, and 12 overall, in the 2016 draft.* *
If the Ravens do make a trade, King names three "forward-thinking" general managers with receiver depth that might be open to it. Yes, he names Chicago. No, Alshon Jeffery is not the target.
Chicago's Ryan Pace ---> Eddie Royal
Seattle's John Schneider ---> Ricardo Lockette
Washington's Scot McCloughan ---> Andre Roberts
"Draft picks, especially mid-round ones, are gold these days, and the Ravens have seven pieces of gold in the first four rounds next spring to use," wrote King. "Newsome has shown he's not afraid to do it."
Pain Tolerance Will Determine How Long Smith Sits
Just how long will the Ravens need to survive without veteran receiver Steve Smith?
That's really up to Smith.
While Head Coach John Harbaugh ruled him out for the Cleveland game with multiple microfractures in his back, he's considered week-to-week after that and it all really depends on how much pain Smith can endure.
"Smith's status will be monitored closely throughout next week," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "With extra padding and protection, it is possible that Smith won't miss a significant amount of time, but his pain threshold ultimately will be key.
"His competitiveness and desire to be on the field are well documented, and he won't want to spend much time on the sideline in this, his 15th and final season."
Dr. David J. Chao, a former NFL team physician and orthopedic surgeon, pointed out that Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo suffered a transverse process fracture in 2014 and missed just one game. Of course, those are two different positions, and Smith would likely land on his back and be hit more than a quarterback. But, it shows one can play through the injury.
"Very painful, no long term risk, can play before healing," tweeted Chao.
If anyone's wondering how high Smith's tolerance for pain is, all you have to do is look at his record. He's only missed seven games over his last 11 seasons due to injury, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Until Smith does return, Hensley suggests the Ravens switch their offensive mindset. When Smith was healthy for the first three full games, only five teams ran the ball less than Baltimore. But when Smith went down against Pittsburgh in the third quarter, the offense ran the ball 19 times and threw it 15.
Running back Justin Forsett finished the night with a season-high 150 yards. It was also the second-highest output of his career.
"In order for the Ravens to improve to 2-3, they must change their offensive mentality," wrote Hensley. "[W]ithout Smith, the Ravens have to go back to coach John Harbaugh's roots and become a ground-and-pound team.
"Truth be told, the Ravens were probably looking to go run heavy against the Browns anyway. Cleveland has traditionally been a bad run defense and ranks last in the NFL this season." // <![CDATA[ Sqor.embed("sqor-embeddable-74620641-1478-4da4-b493-b194b76ba140"); // ]]>
Campanaro's Injury Not Season-Ending
The Ravens placed Campanaro on injured reserve Saturday, but that doesn't mean his back injury was actually season-ending.
Per Zrebiec, an MRI revealed a herniated disk that would have sidelined him for several weeks, but not necessarily the whole year.
Then why make the move?
"T]he Ravens [needed a roster spot," wrote Zrebiec.
The injured Smith and Perriman are occupying two other receiver roster spots, and the Ravens needed room to make the trade for Givens.
As for Campanaro, injuries continue to derail his career and have turned a promising season into a frustrating one for the second year in a row, says Hensley.
"Durability was one of the reasons why Campanaro lasted until the seventh round in 2014," Hensley wrote. "Since joining the Ravens 17 months ago, Campanaro has been sidelined with injuries to his hamstring, quadriceps and now back. … [H]is future is uncertain until he proves he can remain healthy."
Steelers' Mike Mitchell Responds To SmithAfter accusing Mike Mitchell of spearing him in the back, Smith said the Steelers safety is on his "lifetime hit list."
Word got back to Mitchell, and he didn't seem to care much.
"It is something that he tries to use to fuel himself," Mitchell said Friday, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly. "It isn't even something I concern myself with. I didn't think of anything when I heard about it, and I don't think anything about it now. I am going to continue on and play football."
Mitchell also pointed out that he wasn't in on the hit that took Smith out of the game. Replays show it was actually linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
"If you look at my fine history, I am more of a helmet-to-helmet kind of guy," Mitchell said, sarcastically. "I am not going to spear you. I wasn't even involved in the play."
Kickers Getting Attention For Wrong Reasons … Except Tucker
Week 4 was a wild one for NFL kickers, who got a lot of attention – many of them for the wrong reasons.
Steelers kicker Josh Scobee was released after missing two potential game-winning field goals against Baltimore.
Jaguars rookie Jason Myers missed a game-winning 53-yarder against Indianapolis. In overtime, he got another chance but hooked a 48-yard kick wide left. So, 42-year-old Adam Vinatieri, the league's oldest player, won the game with a 27-yarder.
New Orleans kicker Zach Hocker could have claimed victory over Dallas, but missed a 30-yarder with 16 seconds to play. The Saints ended up winning because quarterback Drew Brees hit an 80-yard pass in overtime.
Meanwhile, Justin Tucker was named King's Special Teams Player of the Week for scoring the last nine points of the Steelers game to give Baltimore its first victory of the season.