The Baltimore Ravens season hangs in the balance with a .500 record of 4-4 halfway through the 2018 season. After getting off to a strong 4-2 start, a heartbreaking loss to New Orleans at home was immediately followed by a thorough thumping by the Panthers in Charlotte that sent Baltimore into soul searching mode.
Unfortunately for them, Steelers week leaves little time for that, as the Ravens square off against their biggest rival with a chance to either fall below .500, or sweep the series and regain an advantage in the fight for the division title. It feels like their biggest game in several years as it could potentially be a determining factor in the futures of several key figures within the organization, and they’re clearly serious about winning it.
This is reflected in the words of players who indicate just how much the game means to the team, as well as the actions of the front office. On Tuesday, just ahead of the trade deadline, they swung a deal for Packers running back/receiver hybrid Ty Montgomery, who after wearing out his welcome in Green Bay was available for pennies on the dollar.
Ravens' trade for Ty Montgomery is a low-risk move, giving up a seventh-round pick for someone who will provide more versatility to the backfield. At the very least, Montgomery is seen as an upgrade over Buck Allen as the third-down back.— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) October 30, 2018
The cost benefit analysis is really what makes this move a no-brainer, even considering Montgomery’s contract status. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent upon expiry of his rookie contract at the end of the season. Still, a 7th rounder two years from now seems well worth giving up for the possibility of breathing life into a stagnant running game.
Baltimore certainly needed to do something as a bad combination of poor run blocking and ineffective play from the team’s stable of backs has kept the ground game stuck in the mud from jump street this year. Montgomery is no Barry Sanders, but he’s a solid all-around player who can provide versatility and athleticism to a run game that could use it, He also has some return ability that could boost what’s been a disappointing special teams unit this season.
Ty Montgomery is a good player. Trading him for 2020 7th rounder is a giveaway.— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) October 30, 2018
Things obviously didn’t end up working out for the former Stanford Cardinal receiver and the team that had made unique usage of him over the past several seasons, but that doesn’t mean Montgomery can’t come to Baltimore and make an impact. Bleacher Report’s Paul Kasabian sees the Ravens as a winner at the deadline, claiming Montgomery’s addition was an obvious move to make for the price they paid:
For Baltimore, adding Montgomery could be a big win at a minimal loss. Although the end of his Packers career was hardly ideal, Montgomery has been productive when given opportunities. He’s averaged 4.8 yards per carry and caught 97 passes for 827 yards and three touchdowns in four seasons. He could be useful as a change-of-pace back behind starter Alex Collins or could serve as a fourth wideout behind John Brown, Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead IV. The Ravens offense ranks a dismal 27th in the NFL in yards per play (5.2) this season. Baltimore needed to make a move after losing its last two games, as it sits outside the playoff picture at 4-4. Adding another offensive weapon for only a seventh-round pick seems prudent.
“Right player, right price” has long been a mantra of team general manager Ozzie Newsome. Ty Montgomery could be both.