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Late for Work: Would Trading for Alvin Kamara Give Ravens Leg Up on Chiefs?

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) drives after making a catch during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, December 21, 2023 in Inglewood, California.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (41) drives after making a catch during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday, December 21, 2023 in Inglewood, California.

Would Trading for Alvin Kamara Give Ravens Leg Up on Chiefs?

After winning their second straight Super Bowl and third in five years, the Kansas City Chiefs have achieved dynasty status.

The next goal for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs is to become the first team to capture three consecutive Super Bowl titles. What can the top challengers to Kansas City's throne do to prevent a three-peat?

Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay proposed five blockbuster trades that could shift the NFL's balance of power. One of them has the Ravens, who currently have the third-best Super Bowl odds for next year (behind the San Francisco 49ers and Chiefs), acquiring New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round pick.

"While the five-time Pro Bowler isn't the superstar that he was earlier in his career, he can still create big plays as both a rusher and pass-catcher out of the backfield," Kay wrote. "The 28-year-old back would be an ideal buy-low candidate for the Ravens, who could try to capitalize on the Saints' need to shed salary. The Saints project to be $82.8 million over next year's cap, but they could save $11.8 million by trading Kamara after June 1.

"New Orleans should be willing to ship Kamara off for little in return, assuming he's willing to renegotiate his contract to one more commensurate with his projected usage in Baltimore. The Ravens could deploy him as a third-down and change-of-pace back. Kamara is coming off a seventh straight season with 400-plus receiving yards, and he caught 75 passes this past season, his most since 2020. While he had a career-low 694 yards on the ground, Kamara could flourish in a lesser role in an offense that maximizes his chances to succeed when he does get on the field."

Ravens running backs J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and late-season addition Dalvin Cook are pending free agents. Justice Hill, who had career-highs of 387 rushing yards and 206 receiving yards this past season, and Keaton Mitchell are the top two running backs under contract. Mitchell flashed in limited action in his rookie season before undergoing major knee surgery in December.

Are Terrell Suggs and Marshal Yanda First-Ballot Hall of Famers?

Former Ravens edge rusher Terrell Suggs and guard Marshal Yanda are among the notable names who will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for the first time next year.

Press Box’s Glenn Clark and Baltimore Positive’s Luke Jones weighed in on the likelihood of Suggs and Yanda being first-ballot Hall of Famers.

"Both have remarkably strong cases, but competition for the five spots will be stiff," Clark wrote. "Antonio Gates, Torry Holt, Reggie Wayne, Jared Allen and Jahri Evans are among the holdovers. Other newcomers to the ballot include Luke Kuechly (seemingly a no-brainer), Eli Manning, Marshawn Lynch, Joe Staley, Earl Thomas and Adam Vinatieri. It's a perilous path. I think one might get in, but the cases aren't quite as open and shut as the franchise's first three Hall of Famers (Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed)."

Jones also believes that while Suggs and Yanda are worthy of induction, it might not happen in 2025.

"Julius Peppers and Jason Taylor are the only edge rushers and Larry Allen is the lone guard to be inducted on the first ballot since 2010," Jones wrote. "Those two may have to wait a little bit."

Edwards, Justin Madubuike Win ESPN African NFL Awards

ESPN handed out its 2023 African NFL Awards, which honors the league's best African-born players. Edwards was named African-Born Player of the Year and defensive tackle Justin Madubuike was named African MVP and Defensive MVP.

"Often overlooked due to having a reputation for running in touchdowns from close range rather than going on spectacular solo runs, Liberia-born running back Edwards deserves praise for being one of the most effective finishers in the NFL and one of his continent's best representatives," Leonard Solms wrote. "With 13 touchdowns, he was tied-fifth in the league this season.

"Madubuike was Africa's most consistent performer over the course of the season. … The defensive tackle — a son of Nigerian immigrants — was in the final year of his rookie contract and has an extremely bright future ahead of him in the game."

Ravens Are No. 4 in The Athletic's Early Power Rankings

The Athletic has released its early 2024 power rankings, and the Ravens came in at No. 4, behind the Chiefs, 49ers, and Detroit Lions.

Josh Kendall determined the rankings "by combining some of the old (last season's results) and some of the new (who's getting a stud quarterback back, who might get a new coach lift, who has salary-cap space, etc.)."

"A disappointing ending (scoring 10 points in the AFC Championship Game against the underdog Chiefs) shouldn't overshadow the fact the Ravens, who have $7.3 million cap space, remain the class of the AFC's B flight (which includes any team that doesn't employ Patrick Mahomes)," Kendall wrote. "There won't be any Lamar Jackson contract drama this offseason, which will allow Jackson and Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken to strengthen their connection. That's good news for the Ravens considering Jackson is coming off the second-best season of his career and second NFL MVP award. The quarterback's yards per attempt (7.9) this year were a career-high and his passer rating (101.6) and touchdown passes (27) were the second best of his career."

As noted in yesterday’s Late for Work, the Ravens are No. 1 in ESPN's early power rankings.

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