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Late for Work 2/8: Growing Expectation Among Pundits That Orlando Brown Could Be Traded 

T Orlando Brown Jr.

More Uncertainty Surrounding Orlando Brown Following Latest Tweets

One week after Orlando Brown Jr. tweeted "I'm a LEFT tackle," he repeated his desire to play the position.

"It's never been about the money," Brown tweeted Friday. "I'm so appreciative for this organization and all my teammates. I couldn't thank [Eric] DeCosta enough, he's a incredible football mind and one the best men I know. I want to live out the dream my dad had for me."

Brown tweeted snippets from a Baltimore Sun story about how his late father and former Ravens offensive lineman Orlando Brown Sr. told him that the best tackles don't play on the right side.

Since coming to Baltimore, Brown has talked about living out the legacy of his father. But he doesn't want to just live up to his father; he wants to be better. And part of that is playing left tackle, unlike his dad, who suited up at right tackle for the Ravens from 1996 to 1998, and again from 2003 to 2005.

There's still no public knowledge that Brown has formally requested a trade, but there's a growing expectation from pundits that it could lead to that.

"Realistically, it's unlikely that the Ravens will move Brown to left tackle for the 2021 season because left tackle is where Ronnie Stanley plays, and the Ravens signed Stanley to a five-year, $98.75 million contract extension in October," Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith wrote. "Brown moved to the left side when Stanley was injured last season, but when both are healthy, the Ravens prefer Stanley on the left and Brown on the right.

"... But with Brown saying it's not about the money but about playing left tackle, the Ravens may need to either persuade Brown to keep playing on the right side, or trade him to a team that will play him where he wants to play."

"It's clear the young star is wanting to find a team who wants him on their squad to block the blindside and is willing to offer up enough value to DeCosta," Baltimore Beatdown’s Kyle Barber wrote.

The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec said it would take a "big offer" for the Ravens to consider trading Brown. At just 24 years old the two-time Pro Bowler has started every game for the Ravens the past two seasons.

"It's unclear just how dug in he is on the anti-right tackle stance and what kind of conversations team officials have had with him since that tweet," Zrebiec wrote. "Is he dug in enough where he's planning to hold out or blow off certain offseason activities? That wouldn't solve a whole lot, because holding out would result in heavy fines and staying home could delay his free agency by a year.

"... Either way, the Ravens and Brown have to figure this out. The last thing the Ravens need is one of their better players to be unhappy and disengaged."

Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport ranked each team based on their trade ammunition this offseason and put the Ravens at No. 9 based on speculation surrounding Brown.

"That fired up the speculation machine regarding a potential trade—one that would net the Ravens quite the haul given Brown's age, talent level and premium position," Davenport wrote.

Ravens Open With Fourth-Best Odds to Win Super Bowl LVI

Age seems to be just a number for Tom Brady, who won his seventh Super Bowl title as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-9, on Sunday, but are the Ravens the team that could potentially stop the G.O.A.T from another ring?

Vegas, which generally has a good pulse on things, is optimistic about Baltimore's Super Bowl chances.

Caesars Sportsbook gives the Ravens the fourth-best odds (12/1) to win Super Bowl LVI, tied with the Buffalo Bills. Baltimore is behind the Chiefs (11/2), Green Bay Packers (9/1), and Buccaneers (11/1).

Other oddsmakers like BetOnline have the Ravens at 20/1 odds, while FanDuel has them at 14/1.

The Ravens opened with the second-best odds behind Kansas City to win Super Bowl LV, but fell short in the divisional round to the Bills. Still, pundits believe the Ravens are putting together the pieces to compete for a Lombardi Trophy.

"The Ravens once again look primed to make a run," NBC Sports’ Bijan Todd wrote. "Yes, they need to improve their passing numbers, and they know that. However, they have their franchise quarterback in Lamar Jackson, a top-3 tight end in Mark Andrews, a young and exciting running game, and a defense that ranked second in the league in 2020."

"There are plenty of reasons to be excited about Baltimore's chances too," Ravens Wire’s Matthew Stevens added. "Not only do they have the 2019 NFL MVP at quarterback and a defense that was among the league's best when healthy, but the rushing attack was once again tops in the NFL."

ESPN’s way too early power rankings for the 2021 season have the Ravens at No. 6, with the biggest offseason priority to help Jackson.

"The Ravens spent most of their resources last offseason fixing the defensive front seven," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote. "This year, the focus has to be upgrading the supporting cast around Lamar Jackson and helping him progress throwing the ball. To improve the NFL's 32nd-ranked passing attack, Baltimore has to bolster the offensive line, add a proven wide receiver and bring in another pass-catching tight end. … The lack of a consistent passing game has hurt Baltimore, particularly in the playoffs."

Report: Salary Cap Will Be Higher Than Expected

There was discussion about how the salary cap would be affected because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news for teams is that it should be higher than originally expected.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the salary cap will be roughly $180-181 million.

Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland projected the Ravens to have just over $10 million in cap space when the salary cap was expected to be $175 million. Now the Ravens are expected to have around $15 million in cap space.

McFarland noted that restructures or extensions could open up more cap space heading into free agency, but Zrebiec warned against too many.

"The Ravens could look to do a few more deals similar to Boyle's, reducing 2021 cap numbers while adding a year or two onto the back end of a veteran's contract," Zrebiec wrote. "However, they won't want to add too much money on future caps, not with quarterback Lamar Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews and a few other core players getting closer to free agency. That is the same reason you probably won't see them restructure a bunch of contracts. The organization in recent years has tried to avoid repeated moves that provide temporary cap gain and long-term pain."

Zrebiec also noted that there aren't any obvious cap casualties beyond Mark Ingram II, who was already released.

"The Ravens traditionally aren't very active in free agency, anyway," Zrebiec wrote. "However, they'll still need a little more cap flexibility to do what they need to do and they have to consider all options, big and small, to get it."

Matthew Judon Was Surprised by the Ravens-Titans Rivalry

Is there a rivalry brewing between the Ravens and Tennessee Titans? The once AFC Central opponents

refueled their competitiveness over the past two seasons with some heated matchups.

That came as a surprise to Matthew Judon, who told CBS Sports' Adam Schein that he wasn't expecting a rivalry between the two teams.

"I don't really know where the rivalry came from," Judon said. "Like, I knew we don't like nobody in our division. We don't like the Bengals. We have a stronger dislike for the Browns. And we have the ultimate hatred toward the Steelers. … I didn't even know we didn't like Tennessee. Like, this is news to me."

There was tension during the regular season matchup when John Harbaugh took exception to a group of Titans players gathering on the Ravens logo during pregame warmups. The Ravens followed it up by celebrating on the Titans' logo during the final minutes of their 20-13 Wild-Card victory.

There's plenty of raw emotion that's fueled some great matchups, causing some like The Draft Network’s Trevor Sikkema to question if it's one of the NFL's next great rivalries.

"I, for one, loved every second of it," Sikkema wrote. "There were no punches thrown. The game didn't get out of control. But you know what, if you don't like someone dancing on your logo at midfield after they beat you, don't let them beat you. If you don't like them talking smack all in your ear, shut them up. It's as simple as that. This may be a game of respect, but it's also a game of pride, and you better believe I love a good football rivalry that takes that pride to the edge.

"So is that what we can officially call this Ravens-Titans series? Is this poised to be one of the NFL's next great rivalries? Well, yes and no."

Judon, who's set to hit the free agent market this offseason, said the Ravens gave the Titans a taste of their own medicine, but also didn't rule out Tennessee as a potential free-agent destination.

"We've got to be in that position, and I'm going to have to pray and talk to my guys about it," Judon said. "… If I'm on that side of the rivalry, I'm on that side of the rivalry."

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