Kaare Vedvik Named as Trade Target to Bears
Throughout one of the quietest periods of the NFL offseason, trade conversation could begin to heat up for the Ravens.
The Ravens have had rare stability at one of the league's most unstable positions with Justin Tucker, and after Tucker inked a four-year extension in April, backup kicker Kaare Vedvik could become an attractive trade target for teams with kicking struggles.
The Chicago Bears are one of the top teams in need.
After Cody Parkey's field goal miss capped a brutal loss in the NFL wild-card matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles last season, the Bears have struggled to find a consistent kicking option.
With a "Super Bowl-caliber roster outside of this one position," NBC Sports' JJ Stankevitz believes Vedvik could be the answer to the Bears' kicking woes.
"Vedvik, though, will be effectively trying out for teams in need of a kicker during preseason games," Stankevitz wrote. "The Ravens received trade interest in the Norwegian after he connected on eight of nine field goal attempts during preseason play last year, but he suffered injuries in a Labor Day weekend incident serious enough to land him on the Ravens' reserve non-football injury list."
247 Sports' Matt Eurich also listed Vedvik as one of the potential kicker options for the Bears.
An undrafted rookie out of Marshall, Vedvik impressed during the preseason last year. His versatility as a kicker and punter garnered trade conversation from teams before being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list in September.
Now, after being cleared to return to football activities, Vedvik is expected to enter training camp later this month as the backup kicker. Bears General Manager Ryan Pace has been open about the team's kicking struggles. And given Vedvik's potential, he presents an intriguing add.
"I fully expect that he'll kick well enough for us to trade him," Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the NFL League Meetings in March. "That's kind of, I would say, the goal."
Pundits haven't determined what the Ravens could net in compensation from a trade, but interest from teams in need of a kicker will only increase as the regular season approaches.
PFF: Marshal Yanda, Earl Thomas, and Justin Tucker Are Hall of Fame Worthy
For the second straight year, the Ravens will see a former player inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Ray Lewis headlined the 2018 class and Ed Reed, one of the greatest free safeties of all-time, will head to Canton this year.
With that in mind, the folks over at Pro Football Focus got into the discussion by examining the rosters for all 32 teams into three categories: players who would make the HOF if they retired today, players on pace for the HOF, and players considered but not HOF-worthy right now.
As it's been previously discussed in LFW, Marshal Yanda has put together a Canton-worthy resume, and PFF agrees.
"No matter which metric you look at, Yanda flashes near the top of the list," PFF wrote. "Among qualifiers at the guard position in the PFF era, he ranks second in overall grade, second in average PFF WAR and third in pressure rate allowed. Yanda is the only guard to play 3,000 or more since 2006 and record a pass-blocking and run-blocking grade of 90.0 or higher. He's been the gold standard at the guard position and deserves a spot in Canton."
Earl Thomas and Tucker made PFF's list as players on pace for the HOF.
Thomas, who joined the Ravens this offseason on a four-year deal, has been one of the NFL's elite safeties since entering the league in 2010. Despite leg injuries that have limited his playing time in recent seasons, Thomas is still considered one of the best at his craft.
As our own John Eisenberg put it, Thomas is "must watch football."
"Since entering the NFL, he ranks third among all safeties in PFF grade, buoyed by his unique ability to play centerfielder as a single-high safety," PFF wrote. "Among 40 safeties that have been targeted 200 or more times since 2010, Thomas' 30 interceptions and his forced incompletion rate of 14.1% both rank second. He's a certified difference-maker on the back end of a defense with the ability to erase lapses made by his teammates in coverage. That's something every team could use."
There are only four placekickers in the HOF and Tucker has put together an indisputable resume in just seven seasons. He currently stands as the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history.
Ravens Linked to Top Defensive Tackle Prospect in 2020 Draft
It's never too early to start looking ahead to next year, and CBS Sports' Chris Trapasso highlighted NFL Draft prospects who would fill the biggest team needs in the AFC North.
Trapasso believes defensive tackle will be the biggest need for the Ravens next season and paired them with Auburn's Derrick Brown.
"Brown was a gigantic recruit out of high school – both literally and figuratively – as the No. 9 overall player in the 2016 class who stood 6-foot-5 and weighed 330 pounds," Trapasso wrote. "Some of the recruits ahead of him? Rashan Gary, Dexter Lawrence, Ed Oliver, and Nick Bosa, all top 20 picks in the 2019 Draft.
"... Brown's tackle-for-loss and sack statistics have increased in each of his three seasons at Auburn, and as a junior in 2018, he had 10.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. Right now, the 21 year old is further ahead stopping the run than he is getting after the passer, but that doesn't mean he can't generate pressure. He was dominant as a run defender in 2018."
The Ravens have one of the deepest defensive line groups in the NFL, led by Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce, but it could look much different next season.
Pierce and Willie Henry are set to become unrestricted free agents and Williams will enter the penultimate year of his current contract at 31 years old.
The Ravens still have depth with the likes of Chris Wormley, Zach Sieler, Patrick Ricard, fifth-round pick Daylon Mack and priority undrafted rookie Gerald Willis, but adding Brown to Wink Martindale's defense would give the Ravens another strong piece in the trenches.
However, not all pundits feel the same as Trapasso.
Draft Wire's Luke Easterling went a completely different route in his 2020 mock draft and had the Ravens selecting Georgia running back D'Andre Swift.
- FanSided's Russell Baxter listed three vital stats for the Ravens heading into the 2019 season.
- No love for Marlon Humphrey? The third-year cornerback wasn't mentioned among the top players under the age of 25 by ESPN's NFL experts.
- RavensWire's Matthew Stevens listed five reasons why Ravens fans should be optimistic this season.