Late for Work 10/8: Should Ravens Be Aggressive Before Trade Deadline?

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Looking at Whether Ravens Should be Aggressive Before Trade Deadline

The Ravens (3-2) are again in sole possession of first place in the AFC North after the Browns lost to the 49ers on Monday Night Football, but concerns about the defense remain, and that has led to speculation the team will be aggressive before the NFL trade deadline of Oct. 29.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora identified the Ravens as one of six teams actively laying the framework for potential deals.

Whether it's prudent for the Ravens to pursue this course of action is up for debate.

The biggest name believed to be on the trading block is Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Ravens reportedly are among a handful of teams who made a “substantive inquiry” regarding the All-Pro, who has requested a trade.

Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said last week that he does not intend to trade Ramsey. However, ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes the Jaguars could still be open to the idea if they “think Ramsey isn't going to re-sign with the team down the road, or if [Jaguars Executive Vice President of Football Operations Tom] Coughlin has grown sick of him.”

Barnwell came up with three potential trades for Ramsey, including one involving the Ravens. Barnwell’s scenario has the Ravens sending the Jaguars a 2020 first-round pick, 2020 fourth-round pick (compensatory) and a 2022 first-round pick in exchange for Ramsey and a 2022 fourth-round pick.

“Trading for Ramsey would be a drastic move, but in a wide-open AFC North, it would give the Ravens a better shot at competing now and in the seasons to come,” Barnwell wrote. “Ramsey is a Hall of Fame-caliber talent, and the Ravens have been privileged enough to grow used to fielding multiple Hall of Famers on their defense. Earl Thomas is starting at safety, and the Ravens would have a chance to line up Ramsey and Marlon Humphrey as their starting cornerbacks moving forward. This deal lets Baltimore push one of the first-round picks all the way into 2022.”

While Ramsey undoubtedly would make the Ravens better, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec wrote that trading away draft picks, even for a player of Ramsey’s caliber, may not be in the Ravens’ best interest over the long term.

“[Ravens General Manager Eric] DeCosta has to think of the long game, too,” Zrebiec wrote. “It would make it extremely challenging over the next two offseasons to undergo what seems like an inevitable rebuild of the defense if the Ravens trade a gaggle of premium draft picks for one player.”

PressBox’s Glenn Clark expressed a similar sentiment.

“The truth is that the Ravens as constructed are probably still multiple pieces away from being a Super Bowl championship-caliber team,” Clark wrote. “The best way to find those pieces? The way they found [Lamar] Jackson, [Marquise] Brown and [Mark] Andrews. By doing a better job of drafting. While there would seem to be a bit of a rush to create a window because the Ravens will have a couple of years before they would potentially give Jackson a big-money, long-term deal, that shouldn't create full-on Houston Texans-like panic that it needs to happen THIS year.

“None of this is to say the Ravens shouldn't make or listen to calls. Obviously if the right option is out there at the right price, it's never a bad idea to generically try to help your football team. And if during the next two weeks a group of players emerge (particularly, say, when they play the Seahawks in Seattle in two weeks) that suggests some of these problems could be solved internally, then perhaps a little more aggressiveness might be warranted at the deadline.”

La Canfora wrote that the Ravens also could seek pass-rush help via trade, specifically mentioning Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe.

Clark, however, questioned how impactful such a move would be.

“While Wolfe would likely cost less (because he's a free agent at the end of the season), he's also a player that has tallied all of 1.5 sacks throughout his last 21 games (dating back to the beginning of the 2018 season),” Clark wrote. “If the Ravens want to make such a move, it wouldn't terribly hurt them, but does it really get them closer to making a trip to [the Super Bowl]?”

Reports: Redskins Interested in Acquiring Mike Tomlin

Here’s a trade rumor that doesn’t involve the Ravens directly, but would certainly have an impact on the entire AFC North. According to La Canfora and ESPN’s Ed Werder, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder is interested in acquiring Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin to become his team’s next head coach.

On the surface, it sounds far-fetched, but Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio wrote that Tomlin to the Redskins actually makes a lot of sense.

“As the Steelers pile up losses in 2019, a mutual parting that allows the Steelers to avoid a buyout (and possibly to hire someone like Pittsburgh native Mike McCarthy) and that hands Tomlin to Washington (possibly for a draft pick) could make sense,” Florio wrote. “If, of course, Tomlin wants it.

“Some things make too much sense to ever happen. This one potentially makes too much sense to not happen. Especially as Washington needs the kind of reset that only a skilled and accomplished coach can provide, as long as the rest of the organization gets out of the way and lets Tomlin do what he has done so well over the years in Pittsburgh.”

Florio cited Tomlin’s affinity for Eastern Virginia -- Tomlin is a Hampton, Va., native and played college football at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. -- as a reason why the Redskins job could be appeal to him. It’s also worth noting that Tomlin’s son, Dino Tomlin, plays football for Maryland.

However, TribLive.com’s Tim Benz doesn’t see it happening.

“[The Steelers] value coaching stability beyond any other pillar of their franchise,” Benz wrote. “ … My guess is, the idea of swapping out a coach for draft compensation is a conversation that’s not even worth having in the minds of [Steelers Owner] Art Rooney II and [Steelers General Manager] Kevin Colbert.”

Fox Sports Radio Host Provides Some More Motivation for Lamar Jackson

Being heavily scrutinized comes with the territory if you’re Lamar Jackson, so it’s not really a surprise that one pundit categorized Jackson as “mediocre” after the second-year quarterback threw three interceptions in Sunday’s overtime win over the Steelers.

“Can we finally get everybody in agreement here that Lamar Jackson is just ‘OK’?” Fox Sport Radio’s Clay Travis said. “Nothing against him and there is no conspiracy against Lamar Jackson but he’s just average. He threw three picks versus the Steelers, had a passer rating of 54.9, and almost lost this game for his team. He’s just a mediocre player in the NFL at the quarterback position. At the absolute best, he’s MAYBE the 20th best quarterback in the NFL.”

That seems rather harsh for a 22-year-old who has made just 12 starts in the NFL -- and, by the way, has a 9-3 record in those games. The criticism could also be a nice source of motivation for Jackson, who has talked about his desire to prove the doubters wrong.

Coming into the Steelers game, Jackson had thrown just five interceptions in 304 career attempts.

Sure, he didn’t play his best against a tough Steelers defense on the road, but the bottom line is that Jackson and the Ravens did enough to defeat their arch rivals.

Jackson will never make excuses, but two of his three interceptions Sunday perhaps shouldn’t have counted.

“Jackson shattered the Ravens' record for consecutive passes without throwing an interception, with 248. That's why it was startling to see him get picked off three times in a span of four throws Sunday,” ESPN’s Jamison Hensley wrote. “Tight end Mark Andrews thinks a defender interfered with him on the first one, and Baltimore thought Steelers linebacker Devin Bush trapped the last one on the ground,” ESPN’s Jamison Hensley wrote.

Instead of knee jerk reactions whenever Jackson has a subpar game, perhaps it would be wiser to look at where Jackson is in terms of his development.

“Even though Jackson is enduring some growing pains, he is ahead of most of the projections,” Hensley wrote. “He is the only player in NFL history to total 1,100 yards passing and 200 rushing yards in the first four weeks of a season. On Sunday, he tied teammate Robert Griffin III as the quickest quarterbacks to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a career (21 games). Jackson's 11 touchdown passes are tied for second in the NFL behind that of Russell Wilson.”

In assessing Jackson’s learning curve, Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said: “He’s learning leaps and bounds every single week because you see new things all the time. He’ll be doing that throughout his career. But I think now is when it’s the steepest, and he learns fast. That’s good for us."

Quick Hits

Cincinnati Bengals Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green will not play against the Ravens Sunday, Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor announced. Green, who has been out of action since suffering torn ligaments in his left ankle during training camp, has 53 catches for 886 yards and nine touchdowns in 11 career games against the Ravens.

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