Should Ravens Consider Trading for Deebo Samuel?
All-Pro wide receiver Deebo Samuel's reported request to be traded from the San Francisco 49ers has the NFL world buzzing. In no time, photoshopped images of Samuel wearing different uniforms permeated Twitter, as fans from around the league dared to dream and pundits speculated on potential landing spots.
While Baltimore is not among the teams most frequently mentioned as favorites to acquire Samuel, there has been some chatter linking the versatile and dynamic star to the Ravens.
Baltimore has a run-based scheme and loves physical players on both sides of the ball. Samuel not only is a yards after catch monster as a receiver (77 catches for 1,405 yards, six touchdowns), but was also frequently used as a runner out of the backfield (59 carries, 365 yards, eight touchdowns).
Niner Noise’s Peter Panacy named the Ravens as one of five potential trade partners if the 49ers are willing to trade Samuel.
"It's seemingly been a year-over-year effort to provide Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson with additional pass-catching weapons," Panacy wrote. "And while the Ravens are already wondering about what'll be their own contract extensions with Jackson, the thought of pairing him with one of the NFL's top up-and-coming receivers in the game makes sense."
Baltimore Beatdown’s Spencer Schultz advocated for the Ravens to pursue a trade for Samuel.
"There's no such thing as too many weapons, especially in the pass game, and adding a serious threat like Samuel or another top draft pick has the potential, combined with Lamar Jackson, to seriously limit the way defensive coordinators can defend Baltimore's offense," Schultz wrote. "While there are still some questions regarding [Ronnie] Stanley's health and the Ravens' center position, this is a deep class when it comes to tackle and center options that could help on day two or three of the draft. While Baltimore does need to find answers there, add cornerbacks and edge defenders, adding another playmaker is a fun discussion that deserves to be exercised."
A contract extension for Samuel, who is entering the final year on his rookie contract, would probably be in the range of what Tyreek Hill (four years, $120 million, $30 million average per year) and Davante Adams (five years, $140 million, $28 million average per year) received this offseason.
Could the Ravens afford that?
"Short answer? Yes, they can," Schultz wrote. "Long answer? If Baltimore values a receiver like Samuel as a foundational piece of their franchise over the next three to five years, they can create enough cap room to support the addition in the immediate, while they still have room to decide their plan over the next few years.
"Hill and Adams have first year cap hits of $6.4M and $8.1M, respectively. If Samuel or another receiver nets a similar deal, the Ravens could restructure the contracts of players like Marlon Humphrey, Ronnie Stanley, Mark Andrews, Kevin Zeitler as needed to create well over $10M in additional 2022 cap space, according to Over the Cap."
What would the Ravens have to give up for Samuel? Bleacher Report’s Tim Daniels put together several hypothetical trade packages, including one for the Ravens that has them sending the 49ers their first-round pick (No. 14 overall), a third-round pick (No. 76) and 2023 third-round pick.
It might take more than that for the 49ers to part with Samuel.
The Miami Dolphins sent the Kansas City Chiefs five draft picks — a 2022 first-round pick (No. 29 overall), second-round pick (No. 50) and fourth-round pick, plus fourth- and sixth-round picks in 2023 — for Hill, and the Las Vegas Raiders traded the Green Bay Packers a 2022 first-round pick (No. 22) and second-round pick (No. 53) for Adams.
It would be uncharacteristic for the Ravens to trade away significant draft capital for any player, even one as talented as Samuel. Plus, there undoubtedly would be plenty of competition for Samuel.
There's also no guarantee that Samuel is even available. Despite Samuel's reported trade request, the 49ers reportedly have no interest in letting him leave.
Another thing any team who would have interest in Samuel needs to consider is that he apparently doesn't want to run the ball as frequently as he has in San Francisco.
Calais Campbell Says Lamar Jackson Will 'Be a Raven for Life'
Defensive lineman Calais Campbell did not hesitate when asked if he had any doubt that Jackson will sign a contract extension with the Ravens during his appearance on "The Jim Rome Show."
"He's going to be a Raven for life," Campbell said. "I'll be shocked if anything else happens. He loves the organization as well."
As to why Jackson has reportedly been in no hurry to get a long-term deal done, Campbell expressed an opinion similar to that of owner Steve Bisciotti, who said Jackson "is so obsessed with winning a Super Bowl, that I think deep down he doesn't think he's worthy."
"I think the biggest holdup is that he really wants to perform at his highest level so he earns the contract. Which I think is very commendable," Campbell said. "I think he genuinely just wants to feel like he's earned being the best player in the NFL and having the contract worthy of it. I feel like he wants to go out there and win a Super Bowl first."
What Would Progress Look Like for Ravens' 2021 Draft Class?
As anticipation continues to build for the draft, which begins next Thursday, PressBox’s Bo Smolka looked at the players on the roster from last year's draft class and what success might look like for some of them in 2022.
Here are some excerpts:
WR Rashod Bateman (First round, No. 27 overall)
Year Two progress for Bateman would mean: "He emerges as a No. 1 wide receiver and finds the end zone at least five times after scoring just once as a rookie. Bateman's skill set and what Jackson called Bateman's 'sneaky speed' should prove effective against the Cover Zero blitzes that teams figure to throw at the Ravens after Jackson and the offense struggled against them last year."
OLB Odafe Oweh (First round, No. 31)
Year Two progress for Oweh would mean: "He leads the team in sacks and has a hand in at least a half-dozen turnovers, via forced fumbles, fumble recoveries or interceptions. New Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald, who will be working with Oweh for the first time, will try to devise schemes that allow Oweh's speed to be at its most disruptive."
G Ben Cleveland (Third round, No. 94)
Year Two progress for Cleveland would mean: "He wins the left guard job in training camp and establishes himself as a consistent, reliable NFL starter for an improved offensive line, which General Manager Eric DeCosta has said is a top offseason focus."
DB Brandon Stephens (Third round, No. 104)
Year Two progress for Stephens would mean: "He continues to contribute in the secondary, on the field with both [Marcus] Williams and [Chuck] Clark in dime looks, or as a fill-in cornerback, and records a couple of interceptions. The Ravens' secondary, Stephens included, dropped several potential interceptions last year, one reason the team finished with 15 takeaways, the second fewest in team history. Stephens also should rank among the team's top special-teams tacklers."
Ravens' Track Record of Success in Third and Fourth Rounds Is Encouraging
With the Ravens having seven picks in rounds three and four, Bucky Brooks and Daniel Jeremiah of the “Move the Sticks” podcast said the team is likely to land some impactful players based on its track record of success in those rounds.
"They've been able to hit on players and I look for them to find some really good football players that end up being available at those spots," Brooks said. "They have a ton of success being able to get those guys on the field, and not only get them on the field, but put them in position to make plays."
Jeremiah pointed to the 2018 draft as a prime example of the Ravens finding gems in the third and fourth rounds.
In that draft, the Ravens got offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and tight end Mark Andrews in the third round. Both have been to multiple Pro Bowls, and Brown ended up landing a No. 1 pick for the Ravens in a trade with the Chiefs.
In the fourth round that year, the Ravens selected cornerback Anthony Averett and inside linebacker Kenny Young. Averett started 21 games in four seasons in Baltimore, and Young was involved in a trade that brought All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters to the Ravens.