The Ravens running back position has been the biggest storyline thus far in the preseason. The depth at the position has proven to be outstanding with the Ravens proving to have four starting caliber backs. With a situation like that, trading one of the backs to a needy team could make sense. Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com suggested that the Ravens could consider trading Justin Forsett.
Justin Forsett would make a logical trade candidate. Ravens have enough solid RBs— Gregg Rosenthal (@greggrosenthal) August 25, 2016
Rosenthal is correct that the Ravens have enough solid running backs, but is his proposition of trading Forsett logical?
Believe it or not, trading Forsett could make a lot of sense. Forsett is the oldest running back on the team by five years. Terrance West is the next oldest, and he's only 25. The trio of West, Kenneth Dixon, and Buck Allen have proven to be very promising this preseason. West would probably slide into a starting role without Forsett, while Dixon represents a future star.
West has generated a ton of buzz in camp and in the first two preseason games. He has been hard to bring down near the line, and has shown to have a nose for the endzone.
Another back with a nose for the endzone is Kenneth Dixon who sits second all time in the NCAA in touchdowns scored. Dixon comes in with many similar attributes to Ray Rice, and Dixon may be even more talented. And while Buck Allen hasn’t been great in the preseason, he filled in nicely for Forsett last season, proving that he does have what it takes.
Forsett only has this season and next year, and the Ravens are unlikely to resign him afterwards. Forsett’s value may increase over that time, but it is more likely to decrease. The odds that Forsett’s value will be higher than it is right now is low. Now, would be the most opportune time to trade him. Forsett would most likely give the Ravens at least one late round draft pick, and possibly a player if a team proves to be desperate.
Which teams would be the most logical trade partners in this deal?
Three teams quickly come to mind: The Washington Redskins, San Diego Chargers, and New England Patriots. The Patriots’ starting running back, Dion Lewis, is out with an injury, and Forsett could slide behind LeGarrette Blount, or even start in Week 1. The Patriots have made a few trades recently and the Patriots managed just fine with an injured Lewis last year. This deal would seem unlikely.
San Diego is interesting. The Chargers have first round pick Melvin Gordon, but he was far from impressive last year. The Chargers also have all-purpose back Danny Woodhead, but the team has never seemed particularly comfortable with its running back depth in the post-LaDainian Tomlinson era. The Chargers might be willing to give up a draft pick to provide some security in its backfield.
The Redskins are the most logical trade partner. Despite recently giving up a fifth round pick to the Patriots, the Redskins may still be in the trade market. Redskins running back Matt Jones is team’s likely starter, but he is injured, and he is also very inexperienced. Jones only had one productive game last season. The depth behind Jones is weak. Forsett could force Jones into a running back by committee role upon his return, if Forsett doesn’t take over entirely. The Redskins need help, and the team has never been shy to trade away draft picks.
Forsett is clearly the best blocking back on the Ravens roster and losing that trait would be hard. If Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was to choose to trade away Forsett, it would be on the potential of his younger backs being able to produce at higher levels than Forsett can and improve in pass blocking.
Trading Forsett is unlikely, but it sure is a possibility worth thinking about.