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Late for Work 2/22: Ravens Named Potential Trade Destination for Saquon Barkley

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball during an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, January 2, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois.

Ravens Named Potential Trade Destination for Saquon Barkley

There's speculation that New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley could be on the trade market, and the Ravens were named by Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport as one of the potential destinations.

"Given the Baltimore Ravens' reliance on the run and the injuries that destroyed their backfield in 2021, they also seem like a good fit," Davenport wrote.

Barkley, the No. 2-overall pick in 2018, was named the Offensive Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns and catching 91 passes for 721 yards and four touchdowns. His 2,028 yards from scrimmage led the league.

Over the past three seasons, however, Barkley has missed 21 games due to knee and ankle injuries, including a torn ACL suffered in 2020 that ended his season after two games. This past season, he rushed for 593 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns in 13 games.

"Barkley has high-quality traits, but the Giants need to exhaust all options for their rebuild," ESPN’s Kenny Fowler wrote. "Enough teams are still enamored by his skill set that they could be interested in a potential swap. Many still view Barkley as a top-shelf tailback when healthy. He's due $7.2 million on a fifth-year option, and doing a long-term deal in New York for the 2023 free agent just doesn't make sense for either side."

Considering the Ravens lost their top two running backs, J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, to season-ending knee injuries last preseason, perhaps adding a talented running back for depth isn't a bad idea. Even before the injuries to Dobbins and Edwards, the Ravens reportedly worked out two-time Pro Bowl running back Todd Gurley.

On the other hand, the Ravens have more pressing needs to address this offseason.

In addition to Dobbins and Edwards, Baltimore has running backs Justice Hill (who also is coming off a season-ending knee injury), Ty'Son Williams and Nate McCrary on the roster. Moreover, if they're looking for a veteran presence at running back, they could re-sign Devonta Freeman, who played well in 2021 and would be significantly cheaper than Barkley.’s Kevin Patra assessed each team's running back situation, and he placed the Ravens in the "all set" category.

"The Ravens could keep one of their free-agent veterans around in case rehabs go sideways, but that would be merely as an insurance plan," Patra wrote.

Ravens Wire’s Kevin Oestreicher thinks the Ravens trading for Barkley is a long shot.

"Pairing Barkley with J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards would instantly make Baltimore's running back group the best in the NFL. It's just a matter of if the team can afford to spend upwards of $7 million on a position that's already a strength, and what they'd be willing to give up in terms of draft capital to add him," Oestreicher wrote. " It seems like an unlikely move, but the Ravens have surprised before."

Pundit Predicts Antonio Brown Will Sign With Ravens

There's been plenty of talk recently about whether the Ravens should sign Antonio Brown. Pro Football Focus’ Arjun Menon is predicting the Ravens will sign the veteran wide receiver.

Menon, who ranked Brown 29th on his list of the top 50 free agents, forecasted Brown signing with the Ravens for one year, $4 million.

"The Ravens have needed a true WR1 for a while, and Brown can step right in and fit that role for them," Menon wrote. "He has inside-outside flexibility, as 58 of his 202 receiving snaps came from the slot in 2021, and he would give Lamar Jackson a true top receiver to throw to — something he's never had."

Whether the Ravens truly need a "true WR1" is debatable. As noted in Late for Work last week, General Manager Eric DeCosta said at his season-ending press conference that he's comfortable with the Ravens' wide receiver group.

Meanwhile, the controversial Brown criticized former teammate Tom Brady and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians on his Instagram yesterday.

On a side note, Menon also predicted the Ravens will sign safety Tyrann Mathieu (three years, $48.75 million) and re-sign defensive tackle Calais Campbell (one year, 8 million). Menon ranked Mathieu and Campbell at Nos. 17 and 30, respectively.

Free Agents the Ravens Could Target at Offensive Tackle and Center

Speaking of free agents, The Baltimore Sun’s Jonas Shaffer looked at 10 players the Ravens could target at positions of need.

Not surprisingly, the offensive line is at the top of the list, specifically at tackle and center. Shaffer identified two players at each position the Ravens could have interest in — (add quotes) "one for a higher price tag, the other at a more modest cost."

OT Morgan Moses

"The Washington Commanders released Moses two weeks after the Ravens signed [Alejandro] Villanueva, and he made the most of his one-year, $3.6 million deal with the New York Jets. Moses appeared in all 17 games, starting 16 at right tackle, and graded out as Pro Football Focus' No. 40 tackle. The 6-foot-6, 335-pound Moses, who turns 31 next month, is considered a strong run blocker."

OT Joseph Noteboom

"A 2018 third-round pick, Noteboom started his career in Los Angeles at guard, only to be knocked off course by injuries. But in the final year of his rookie deal, he stepped in capably at both left and right tackle. According to PFF, the 6-5, 321-pound Noteboom allowed one sack in 85 pass-blocking snaps last season and had the second-best pass-blocking grade of any Rams lineman."

C Brian Allen

"Nagging knee injuries kept Allen from playing a single snap for the Rams in 2020, but he broke out in 2021. Allen started 16 games for the Super Bowl champions and finished his fourth NFL season as PFF's 10th-rated center, one spot ahead of [Bradley] Bozeman. The 6-2, 303-pound Allen's mobility was a good fit for the Rams' zone-blocking run schemes, but the Ravens' ground game relies more on gap schemes."

C Billy Price

"After three disappointing seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, the 2018 first-round pick got a fresh start in New York last season. Pass protection remained an issue for Price — he allowed two sacks and 24 quarterback pressures — but he was a solid run blocker for the Giants. The 6-4, 308-pound Price hasn't missed a game because of injury over the past three seasons."

The Case for Extending Marcus Peters and the Case for Trading Him

Even though DeCosta said at his season-ending press conference that he "loves" Marcus Peters and expects him to remain with the Ravens, the All-Pro cornerback, who has a cap hit of $15 million in 2022, is often mentioned as a candidate to either be cut, extended or traded.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay believes the Ravens should offer Peters a contract extension, while Kay's colleague, Davenport, contends the team should trade Peters.

Kay projected a three-year, $45 million extension for the 29-year-old Peters, who missed all of last season after suffering a torn ACL.

"The Ravens restructured Peters' deal last year, creating $3.5 million to work with," Kay wrote. "Given the team has just $9.8 million in projected cap room, Baltimore would benefit from another arrangement that provides financial flexibility."

Davenport said the Ravens should not dismiss the possibility of trading Peters.

"Do the Ravens want to trade Peters? No — the pass defense took a big hit last season with the veteran on the shelf," Davenport wrote. "But the financial realities they face and Peters' value as a tradeable asset are factors General Manager Eric DeCosta will bear in mind the next time his phone rings."

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