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Mailbag: Ravens Trade Deadline Predictions

GM Eric DeCosta
GM Eric DeCosta

Mink: Since we won't have another edition of Mailbag before next Tuesday's trade deadline (on Halloween), this is the time to answer these questions. General Manager Eric DeCosta has made a significant deal three of his four years as GM (Marcus Peters in 2019, Yannick Ngakoue in 2020, Smith in 2022). I'm sure he'll be exploring the field again this year. My gut tells me he will make a move to bolster a Ravens roster that already clearly has the talent to compete for a Super Bowl.

The Ravens currently are projected to have eight draft picks next year, including a compensatory pick for the free-agency loss of Ben Powers. So they have enough ammunition. According to Russell Street Report's Brian McFarland, the Ravens currently have $2.8 million in cap space, but could create around $13 million more with contract restructures and even more if they add void years, which is something they've done more recently. So the Ravens also have enough financial wiggle room to make a move.

When looking at which position the Ravens could upgrade, running back seems the most likely to me. Baltimore had big plans for J.K. Dobbins this year and losing him in Week 1 put a dent in the offense. While Gus Edwards and Justice Hill have done well carrying the load in Dobbins' absence, and rookie Keaton Mitchell has potential, the possibility of adding a premier playmaker is alluring. According to Next Gen Stats, the Ravens are tied for 17th in the league in rushing yards over expected per carry. Lamar Jackson makes up most of that with 0.9 rushing yards over expected/carry while Edwards and Hill are both at 0.0. Plus, if the Ravens were to make a big move, there's the possibility of that player sticking around considering the only running backs Baltimore has under contract for next year and beyond are Hill and Mitchell.

Pass rusher would be the other position to consider, but the Ravens currently lead the NFL in sacks (29) and already added two veterans in Jadeveon Clowney and Kyle Van Noy, who are both playing at a high level. Odafe Oweh's return from an ankle injury and David Ojabo's eventual return from ankle/knee injuries also bolster the unit. I think they're in good shape with the pass rush. If a golden opportunity falls in their lap then sure, but pass rushers don't come cheap.

I would say there's an outside chance that wide receiver could be of interest. The Ravens could look to further bolster that unit this season and beyond.

Mink: Speaking of adding a running back, there's plenty of questions this week about the possibility of trading for Titans running back Derrick Henry. Henry is a fantastic player, undoubtedly one of the best running backs in the league. If he's made available (the Titans seem to be in seller mode after dealing standout safety Kevin Byard), it would not surprise me if the Ravens at least put feelers out.

Henry is a volume runner who often does much of his damage late in games after wearing opponents down with his physicality. He could be an excellent closer with home-run hitter potential, as the Ravens saw in London and numerous other times. That certainly has value. However, with the way Baltimore's offense is constructed, I don't envision Henry getting 20+ carries a week like he has with the Titans.

Reportedly, the Giants are not interested in trading Saquon Barkley. The Dolphins reportedly inquired about Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and were told he’s not available. Then again, teams often say those sort of things before somebody gets dealt. I don't think Baltimore would trade for a running back unless it's a big fish. They don't need depth, but they could be interested in a premier difference-maker.

Downing: It sure would be nice to replicate what the Ravens did Sunday against the Lions. But the obvious truth is that it's hard to do that every single week, even for the best teams in the NFL. There aren't many blowouts in the NFL, so don't get used to 32-point victories every single week. In terms of what made the Lions game different, there wasn't one defining characteristic. The execution was certainly better – there weren't any drops, the offensive line held up well in protection, the playmakers made things happen with the ball in their hands – and all of that led to a highly productive day. Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken also called a great game. He rolled out some new wrinkles in the game plan, called a balanced game, and just seemed to have all the right calls at the right time.

It will be difficult to replicate that kind of offensive output, but the Ravens do believe they are capable of that kind of performance every week. Quarterback Lamar Jackson was subdued after the win and stressed that the Ravens need to play like that on a consistent basis. "We just need to keep doing it week in and week out, not just one game," he said. "We just showed a glimpse today." The defense was excellent on Sunday, but even they were disappointed about some of the late yards and the touchdown they allowed.

Downing: Tyus Bowser's knee injury has been one of the more confounding situations of this season. The Ravens expressed optimism back in training camp about getting him on the field for the regular-season opener, but now it's Week 7 and there is less clarity than ever regarding when he will return. Bowser is currently on the non-football injury list because his injury occurred away from the team facility. Head Coach John Harbaugh indicated last week that Bowser's status was in doubt after the situation became "a little more complicated," and that there could be an announcement coming on that somewhat soon. This week, Harbaugh told reporters there "no resolution yet" on Bowser's status. The outside linebacker has hosted a weekly radio show throughout the season where he's spoken in vague terms about his status, indicating that he's working to get back, but there's no firm timetable on when that will be.

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