Despite all of their problems, the Baltimore Ravens are indeed still in the thick of the playoff race in the AFC. With three home divisional matchups scheduled for November, a minor trade before the November 1st trade deadline could give the team a needed boost.
However, the Ravens have regressed as a franchise from where they were a few seasons ago. No matter how the team fares down the stretch, the team is almost guaranteed to reload the roster next offseason, and could even decide to undertake an extensive roster rebuild.
With the age of the roster and salary cap limitations, it would not be wise for the team to trade for another player in the twilight of their career. The Ravens should be building towards the future at this point in their journey.
There are two players that would make sense for the Ravens in a trade scenario...
LB Christian Jones, Chicago Bears
A former starter for the Bears has fallen out of favor this season after the Bears made heavy investment in their linebacker corps with several large free agent contracts and a first round pick in the draft. Starting 18 games from 2014-2015, Jones posted 155 tackles, two sacks and five passes defensed.
Jones has the size and experience to play at any of the Ravens linebacker positions. With uncertain contributions from Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil due to nagging injuries and C.J. Mosley recovering from a leg injury that has kept him out for the last two games, Jones would give the Ravens some depth at linebacker and another body to rotate with their young edge rushers.
The Bears have a strong linebacker group for the future, and are clearly in rebuilding mode with a 1-6 record. The would likely be satisfied with a Day 3 draft pick in exchange for this surplus defender. Most importantly, Jones is in the third year of his rookie deal, he would be a restricted free agent next offseason. And at 25 years old, he has the potential to develop into a better player.
WR Brandon Coleman, New Orleans Saints
Coleman, a local product from Forestville, MD, has been passed on the depth chart by impressive rookie receiver Michael Thomas. Coleman went undrafted in 2014, but started four games for the Saints last season, producing 30 receptions, 454 yards and two touchdowns. He chipped in another touchdown grab this season, but is the clear cut number four receiver on the depth chart, behind Brandin Cooks, Thomas and Willie Snead.
Kamar Aiken has been a disappointment for the Ravens after a breakout 2015 campaign. Breshad Perriman is still developing after missing his rookie season and Steve Smith has been unable to play recently with an ankle injury. Coleman would supply insurance in case Smith’s injury lingers and give the Ravens a tall receiver to target in the red zone. At 6’6” his huge catching radius could benefit Joe Flacco, who struggles with accuracy at times.
Coleman is also a young player, at 24 years old, and will be a restricted free agent next offseason. If the Ravens believe he can contribute to the team more than Darren Waller can this season, offering a Day 3 draft to New Orleans would be smart. The Saints would likely accept a reasonable trade offer for Coleman, since they are struggling and their future looks bleak.