Trades don't happen that often in the NFL, but that may change this Spring.
Considering there are far less unrestricted free agents in this year's offseason, due to the impending uncapped season, there could be more trades than usual in the coming months.
In essence, teams looking to improve at a particular position will have fewer opportunities to do so through free agency and therefore may be more likely to pursue a trade. If teams do go the free agency route, they will find many players restricted, meaning they would have to give up draft picks in order to acquire them.
For a franchise that loves to stockpile draft picks, the Ravens could be in the market. And Baltimore has valuable goods to deal.
In running back Willis McGahee and defensive end Trevor Pryce, the Ravens have two proven, high-caliber veterans who were supplanted on the depth chart by younger options in 2009. In backup quarterback Troy Smith, Baltimore has a potential playmaker looking for an opportunity.
How willing the Ravens are to part with those players or others is unknown, but while Head Coach John Harbaugh said the team would like to retain all of its players, General Manager Ozzie Newsome said he will listen to offers.
"When it comes to trading any player, I think we're open to it," Newsome said last week. "You know, we're open to making our football team better.
"If we get something, or some team calls us and is willing to make us an offer for basically any player – we'll sit there and listen to it, and then we'll talk about it. And if there is an opportunity for us to improve our team by trading away a player, which will allow us to get another player, then we'll do it."
So let's take a look at McGahee, Pryce and Smith and see what their value may be.
2009 Stats:109 rushes, 544 yards, 5.0 YPC, 12 TDs (career-high)
Productivity:McGahee has seen fewer carries and yards rushing in each of the past two seasons following a Pro Bowl year in 2007. But a big reason for that was his health in 2008 and Ray Rice's emergence in 2009. McGahee is still a physical runner and showed he still has big-play potential (just ask the Raiders' Hiram Eugene).
Player's Wishes:McGahee accepted his role in the Ravens' system with grace. But he would like to be a No. 1 back again and he has plenty of reason to feel that way. There's still tread on his tires.
Health Status: McGahee, 28, played in all 16 games for the first time since 2005. That could have partly been because McGahee camp into camp in tip-top shape.
Reported Contract: 7 years, $40.12 million; Due $3.5 million in 2010
Bottom Line:The Ravens have one of the best 1-2 punches in the league with Rice and McGahee. They may be unwilling to break that up. But if they feel they can keep a similar punch with Rice and Le'Ron McClain or some other combination, McGahee could be expendable. And while McGahee's value is still high, it could be the right time to get some extra draft picks or players.
2009 Stats:31 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Productivity: In a rotational role with defensive end Dwan Edwards – with Edwards being more of the run-stopper and Pryce entering in pass-rushing situations – Pryce had one of his better seasons as far as getting to the passer. His 6.5 sacks led the team and are the most he's had since his first year in Baltimore in 2006. But it doesn't appear that he's an every-down player like he used to be.
Player's Wishes:Pryce had mentioned retirement before, but there was no word of that after this season. He is expected to fulfill the final year of his contract.
Health Status:Pryce is getting up there in age at 34. But he has played in all 16 games in four of the past five seasons, including the past two, so he's durable.
Reported Contract:5 years, $25 million; Due $4.5 million in 2010
Bottom line: Pryce is listed behind Edwards on the depth chart, but he is still a big part of what the Ravens do up front. For a team that would like to have more sacks, it's tough to jettison the guy who led the team in that category from the year before.
2009 Stats: 4 games, 5-of-9 passing, 24 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
Productivity: It's tough to say whether Smith is ready to be a starter because we haven't seen all that much from him. In two starts in 2007 he 77.7 and 90.2 quarterback ratings, respectively. Smith has a good arm and is excellent at picking up yardage scrambling outside the pocket. But the former Heisman winner hasn't been a polished pocket passer in college or the pros, which is the type of quarterback most teams look for. He's likely wouldn't be a sure-fire starter no matter where he goes.
Player's Wishes:Smith's agent says he has filed a trade request with the Ravens and Smith backed his agent. Smith said he would be happy to get a chance to play near home in Cleveland and Buffalo could also be an option.
Health Status: He's still only 25 and healthy as can be.
Reported Contract:3 years, $1.22 million
Bottom Line:Smith provides the Ravens with good insurance behind Joe Flacco, and the coaches say he's on his way to being a very good quarterback. However, third-string quarterback John Beck looked good in the preseason and could challenge Smith for the No. 2 spot this summer. It probably comes down to how much teams would be willing to give up for Smith. ESPN thought a team like the Bills may be willing to part with a third-rounder while other teams may see his value as not that deserving.