Things are starting to heat up at the Ravens' Under Armour Performance Center.
The NFL schedule was released last week, players voluntarily reported this morning for the team's offseason workout program and Ravens scouts continue to passionately debate prospects with the NFL Draft next week.
A vast majority of the players are expected to be in attendance for the offseason workouts, including veterans such as newly-signed safety Eric Weddle and quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been rehabbing his knee all offseason in Baltimore.
Lots of rumors, opinions and reports are flying …
Cole: Ravens Trying To Trade Out Of Top 10
It's been 16 years since the Ravens picked in the top 10, but apparently some folks around the NFL believe Baltimore wants to part ways with its coveted sixth-overall pick.
"In talking to multiple executives around the NFL in the aftermath of Los Angeles' trade up to the No. 1 spot, the expectation is there is still going to be serious trading, but probably not until the No. 6 overall pick," Bleacher Report's Jason Cole says in the video below.
Cole said these executives believe quarterbacks will be drafted with the top two picks from L.A. and Cleveland, followed by three consecutive defensive players by San Diego, Dallas and Jacksonville.
"The real intrigue starts at No. 6 where people talk about the Baltimore Ravens wanting to get out of the top 10 and pick up more picks between the Nos. 11 and 50 spots in the draft where there's a lot of depth," said Cole.
General Manager Ozzie Newsome has said loud and clear that his phone line is open and he's ready to listen to any potential trade offers. He's always been open to listen. But Cole gives the impression that Newsome wants to trade out.
Is that a legitimate desire?
It's unclear, which is exactly how the Ravens like it. Rumors, smokescreens and opinions run rampant this time of year. For example, the same speculation surrounds whether the Ravens are *really *interested in running back Ezekiel Elliott.
"That's a question many in the industry are asking and there is no consensus," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec. "There are those who feel that the Ravens want that out there in the hope that one of the teams that needs a running back – like the Philadelphia Eagles at eight and the Miami Dolphins at 13 – feels like it needs to get in front of them to grab Elliott. Moving back a couple of spots, picking up another pick or two and then still getting a player that they covet is always a scenario that the Ravens seek."
Or, Newsome really does just like Elliott.
But, if it were possible to move back, stockpile a few picks and still get a player the Ravens would have selected at No. 6, of course they would do it. Who wouldn't?
My guess is the Ravens have come up with multiple scenarios they're comfortable with, including trading back or standing pat and potentially taking one of two elite players that will still be on the board (Joey Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Myles Jack, Laremy Tunsil or Jalen Ramsey) if two quarterbacks are taken in the top five, as Cole suggests.
Will Breshad Perriman Fully Participate In Offseason Practices?
There will be several injured players to keep an eye on this spring as they continue rehabbing, including Flacco, wide receiver Steve Smith and Terrell Suggs.
The player with the "most to prove," however, is last year's first-round pick Breshad Perriman, says ESPN's Jamison Hensley.
Head Coach John Harbaugh threw the media for a loop earlier this month when he said Perriman is running, but not at full speed. Since Perriman injured his knee on the first day of training camp last year and didn't play a regular-season snap, it was assumed he would be healthy by now. And Newsome said in February he anticipated Perriman would be ready to play "at some point this spring."
It wouldn't be a surprise to see Perriman as the offseason workouts begin today, but actual on-field practicing doesn't begin for another month.
That will give the next clue as to how healthy Perriman is.
"The biggest question of the offseason is whether Perriman will be on the field when offseason practices begin in four weeks," wrote Hensley.
Jalen Ramsey Says It's Possible He Comes To Baltimore
Most pundits believe top-ranked defensive back Jalen Ramsey will be off the board by the time the Ravens are on the clock, but there are at least two people who believe he could still be available: Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta and … Ramsey.
"They still have a top-six pick, so that could also be a possibility," Ramsey told ESPN NFL Nation reporters last week.
Ramsey has met with several teams slated to pick in the top 10, and he said he's talked with Ravens representatives throughout the pre-draft process.
With Pro Bowl and even All-Pro potential, it would be surprising if the Chargers, Cowboys and Jaguars all passed on Ramsey. But DeCosta knows all too well that strange things can happen on draft night.
"Well, we never thought Terrell Suggs would be there at pick No.] 10 [in 2003],” DeCosta said. “So [we’ll prepare for everything that happens."
Ravens Open As Three-Point Favorites Over Bills
Well, Las Vegas isn't keen on the idea of the Ravens reaching the Super Bowl, but it does see a good start to the season.
Baltimore opened as three-point favorites over the Buffalo Bills, who will come to town with some familiar faces including Rex Ryan, Ed Reed and Tyrod Taylor.
It's not a resounding nod to the Ravens as home teams are favored by oddmakers, but a win seems like a smart prediction given both teams' history.
The Ravens are 4-1 in home season-openers since 2008 when Harbaugh came to town. The Bills are 2-3 in Week 1 road games.
Injury Waivers Protect Ravens; Updated Salary Cap
Dennis Pitta's contract details have been revealed in a slow trickle, but everything finally seems to be out there.
In addition to lowering Pitta's cap hit this year (nearly to the point where they save just as much as a post-June 1 release), the Ravens also reportedly protected themselves with an injury waiver for the next three years.
The Ravens are now reportedly $11.8 million under the cap, which should give them plenty of money to sign their rookie class and even ink a couple modest free agents if they so choose.
Not Everyone Happy With Christmas Game
Count CSNMidatlantic.com's Bo Smolka among those who don't like the idea of NFL games being played on Christmas day, whether it's the Ravens or any other team. He feels it unnecessarily forces employees to work on a holiday that most would prefer to be with their families.
"Wait a second ... I thought the NFL got religion back in 2013, remember? Isn't that why the NFL wouldn't allow the Ravens to host that post-Super Bowl season-opener on Wednesday? It was concerned that it would conflict with Rosh [Hashanah], remember? So isn't it also concerned with a Christmas conflict? Oh, wait a minute -- the NFL was far more concerned with having that 2013 opener in a Thursday time slot, and there was that whole conflict with the Orioles game. Sorry Ravens, hit the road.
"The NFL didn't care then, and it doesn't now. So Merry Christmas Mr. Heinz Field beer vendor, Ms. Parking Attendant, Ms. Club Suite Assistant. Now shut up and report to work."
Thank you to the men and women who give me the freedom to hold our flag high! #freedom pic.twitter.com/fDZyt6pfWS — Crockett Gillmore (@CrockettG7) April 17, 2016