Late For Work 8/16: Don't Rule Out Ravens Signing Ryan Mathews; Opinions on Breshad Perriman Injury

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Don't Rule Out Ravens Signing RB Ryan Mathews

After the Philadelphia Eagles gave running back Ryan Mathews a clean bill of health Tuesday, the team subsequently cut him.

Despite the fact that Matthews, 29, is recovering from offseason neck surgery … despite the Ravens being low on salary-cap space (although they doubled it recently) … and despite the Ravens having what seems like bigger needs along the offensive line, two Baltimore reporters immediately tweeted after Mathews' release that the Ravens could be interested in signing him.

Given the circumstances surrounding Mathews' injury and the team's needs, if the Ravens were to ink him to a deal, that would indicate that they reaaaaalllllly like the eight-year veteran.

As ESPN's Jamison Hensley pointed out, Mathews had a massive day in Week 15 last year against a Ravens run defense that was ranked No. 1 for most of the season. He was one of the reasons the unit dipped to No. 5 by season's end.

It was the following week against the New York Giants that Mathews suffered a herniated disk in his neck. He missed all offseason workouts while rehabbing. As Philadelphia's main power back in 13 games, Mathews notched 661 yards and eight rushing touchdowns on 155 carries.

"[Signing Mathews is] far from a slam-dunk move. The Ravens, who lack an established 1,000-yard rusher, would have to overlook Mathews' lack of ball security in order to pursue him," Hensley wrote. "Mathews' 20 fumbles are the most in the NFL since 2010 (his first NFL season) and are two more than anyone else in the league over that span. It's not a coincidence that Baltimore has had the third-fewest fumbles lost with 73 since Harbaugh became the Ravens' coach in 2008.

"Still, the Ravens' current situation could cause them to take the risk. Mathews is a decisive downhill runner who hits the hole hard. He's a physical playmaker who isn't afraid to lower his head to get extra yards. While the Ravens have other needs, Baltimore's backfield is marginal in terms of running the ball. … Mathews is a back who can still be productive behind a banged-up offensive line. His 2,261 yards after first contact ranks as the 10th-most in the NFL since 2010."

Perriman Already Two Weeks into Four-Week Injury? Big Deal if He Misses Preseason?

While Head Coach John Harbaugh didn't rule out Breshad Perriman potentially playing in the preseason, he didn't sound optimistic that the third-year receiver would.

"Nothing has changed with Breshad," Harbaugh said yesterday. "He's a long-term hamstring guy, in terms of when he did it. It's a pretty good hamstring he had. He's making progress. Everything is on schedule and they're happy with the way he's progressing."

Based on the timeline that Zrebiec reported yesterday, it's *possible *Perriman could return for the final preseason game against the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 31, but it would be cutting it close.

Zrebiec added, "Obviously the goal is to get him on field for WK 1 in Cincy."

If Perriman doesn't return until the regular-season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sept. 10, he will have played in one preseason game in the three years since he was drafted in 2015. That's why Zrebiec explained to fans on Twitter yesterday that missing this time is significant for Perriman, but at the same time, drastic moves aren't necessary.

Ravens Named Among Seven Trade Proposals That 'Make Sense'

There seems to be a sentiment out there that Baltimore needs to bolster its running back corps despite Terrance West and Danny Woodhead leading the way. The perceived need likely comes as a result of Kenneth Dixon missing the entire season with a knee injury.

That's why NFL.com's Marc Sessler named the Ravens as a trade partner with the New York Jets for running back Matt Forte in a speculative column in which he identified seven trades that "make sense."

"The injury-ravaged Ravens can't rely on Terrance West alone for early-down work following Kenneth Dixon's season-ending injury," Sessler wrote. "Forte would give Baltimore's veteran-heavy offense a reliable, productive back who can work all three downs. You can't have enough of those in the AFC North.

"[T]he Jets have scrubbed the roster of expensive, aging veterans. Forte has been spared -- perhaps the wrong word -- but it's not too late to make a move. New York can ride the Bilal Powell train this autumn while getting a late-round pick in return for Forte, who remains under contract through 2018."

I have a hard time seeing this one happen. Not only would the Ravens have to give up assets in the form of a player or draft pick to bring Forte to Baltimore, but they would have to pick up his $3 million base salary too. At least with Mathews, the Ravens wouldn't have to give up anything in a trade and they could negotiate a salary that would work better under the cap.

Ice Up, Son! Ben Roethlisberger in Mid-Season Form

What are they doing to Ben Roethlisberger out there in Pittsburgh? Don't they have the same red jersey no-contact rules most teams have?

I kid. I kid. But, holy moly, that's a lot of ice.

While few believed Roethlisberger would retire when he mentioned it as a possibility this offseason, this picture makes it totally understandable why he would even consider it. This is what 14 years in the league can do to you.

If this is a* *regular maintenance routine during training camp, I can't imagine the treatment he gets after he gets knocked around a few times by Terrell Suggs and company.

Quick Hits

  • Fantasy football owners want to know: Is Baltimore at all concerned -- especially with all of its injuries -- with limiting Danny Woodhead's role after another major knee injury cut his 2016 season short? "Not at all," wrote Hensley. "Woodhead could end up being the Ravens' leading receiver in terms of catches. The Ravens had the second-most completions to running backs last season, and this is why Baltimore targeted Woodhead early in free agency. He should get a lot of the passes that went to tight end Dennis Pitta (86 receptions) and fullback Kyle Juszczyk (37) last season. Joe Flacco said Woodhead is the Ravens' best pass-catching running back since Ray Rice." [ESPN]
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