Who Might Be Available If Ravens Explore Trade for a Wide Receiver?
The Ravens landed wide receiver Sammy Watkins in free agency, but could they add another veteran pass-catcher via trade?
CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora believes there could be some receivers on the trade block, and he thinks the Ravens would be among the interested teams "due to a very smart front office that must grasp the suspect state of their pass catchers even with Watkins."
La Canfora identified several receivers "who could likely use a better opportunity elsewhere."
The most accomplished player on the list is Brandin Cooks, who had 81 catches for 1,150 yards and six touchdowns for the Houston Texans last season. The 27-year-old Cooks has had five 1,000-yard seasons in his seven years in the league.
"Why pay Brandin Cooks another $26M the next two years when you are making trades all over and shedding salary and have no QB given the Deshaun Watson sexual misconduct allegations?" La Canfora wrote. "Word is, he's a favorite of Texans boss Jack Easterby, and they did just restructure his deal a few weeks back … but that also makes cap hit more palatable in 2021 for another team. Highly suspect he's not going anywhere, but this is the Texans, and not much goes according to plan there."
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, 26, is another intriguing name on La Canfora's list. The 6-foot-4, 206-pound wideout has started 32 games for the Green Bay Packers over the past three seasons. Last year, he had career-highs of 690 yards, six touchdowns and a 20.9 yards-per-catch average (which led the league).
"And he averaged 7.3 YAC/reception, which is fourth among all wide receivers," La Canfora wrote. "He will make $2.2M this year and then be a free agent, which means if the Pack don't plan to pay him they may be inclined to listen on him."
Obviously, any talk of the Ravens trading for a receiver is speculative, but General Manager Eric DeCosta said in January that he's not opposed to making deals to upgrade the roster.
"I think teams know that they can always call me if they want to make a trade, and we'll be aggressive," DeCosta said. "We'll be proactive, and we'll call teams. I'm always willing to listen. We've made a lot of trades. I love trades. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't, but they're fun."
Analysts Tackle Pertinent Questions About Lamar Jackson's Next Contract
One of the hot topics this offseason has been when the Ravens will reach an agreement with Lamar Jackson on a contract extension. ESPN's Jamison Hensley interviewed NFL analysts to get their thoughts on the frequently asked questions regarding Jackson's next contract.
Here are some excerpts:
Should the Ravens have concerns about giving a potential record signing bonus to a quarterback who runs more than anyone else in NFL history?
ESPN NFL front office insider and former GM Mike Tannenbaum: "Well, it's a good problem to have because he is a dynamic player. There certainly would be a lot of teams that would like to have that problem. The ball's going to be in his hands a lot more than others, so you are a little concerned. On the other side of it, one thing he does a good job of is he is really good at making people miss. When you think about the history of the game — Tony Dorsett, Curtis Martin, those sort of runners — they have sustainability because they don't get hit and take the big shot."
Where does Jackson's contract ultimately fall? Will it get close to Patrick Mahomes' NFL-record $45 million per season? Or will it drop closer to Watson ($39 million per year) or Dak Prescott ($40 million)?
CBS Sports' Joel Corry: "I don't think Josh Allen or Lamar Jackson are surpassing Patrick Mahomes. The two most relevant data points for both those guys are DeShaun Watson and Dak Prescott. I think the deal's going to be in that range. Maybe they go a little above Dak Prescott."
Should Jackson wait for Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield to sign their extensions (so he can top theirs) or does that matter?
NFL Network's Kurt Warner: "To me, as long as I'm paid in that category and if I want to be a Raven, then I sign the deal whenever they bring the deal to me. I don't worry about 'Do I end up making $1 million more per year than Baker or Josh Allen?' That to me doesn't factor in. All of these guys are going to be paid so well they're never going to have to worry about anything in their lives again. Knowing Lamar, he's such a humble guy, I think he's going to be 'I want to play my whole career with the Ravens.' You're giving me a top notch deal and I'm taking it and we're going to play. I also believe that, if you want to win, sometimes you take a little bit less as long as you're still in the category that you want to be in, and you say, 'Hey, give me some more pieces around me, and let's go win some championships.'"
Calais Campbell Talks About Restructuring His Contract
Defensive lineman Calais Campbell talked about restructuring his contract this offseason to free up cap space during an appearance on "NFL Total Access." Campbell, who is entering his 14th season, reportedly took a pay cut.
"Where I'm at in my career and where this team is, it just made sense to be able to find a way to make a difference with the team in creating more cap space," Campbell said. "At the same time, I've got nothing but faith in our front office to be able to use that the right way. I think Sammy Watkins was a great pickup. [I'm] happy to get Derek Wolfe back. Our front office always does a really good job of knowing what kind of players are Raven players.
"I feel like this year we're so close [to winning a championship]. … So we're all hands on deck. I don't know how many opportunities I have left."