The Ravens have expressed a desire to address the running back position this offseason. General Manager Eric DeCosta could attack the position from several different angles, whether it be via free agency, trades or the draft, and it just so happens that a Pro Bowl running back is potentially available:
Multiple teams approached the Chicago Bears at the combine last week and discussed a potential trade for RB Jordan Howard, per league sources. Discussions ongoing.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 7, 2019
Entering his fourth season, Jordan Howard eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards in his first two years and fell just 65 yards short in 2018. Howard has recorded an impressive 24 rushing touchdowns in his career and was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie when he rushed for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns as well as catching 29 passes for 298 yards and a touchdown.
With two picks in the third, fourth and sixth rounds of the draft, Baltimore certainly has the ammo to acquire Howard if Chicago is actually looking to trade, although it’s unclear what what the Bears asking price would be. Howard averaged only 3.7 YPC last season, and he never seemed to truly acclimate to new head coach Matt Nagy’s offense. Starting fresh in the Ravens power running game could reinvigorate Howard’s production.
One could say that Howard is too similar to Gus Edwards, the undrafted running back who rushed for 718 yards and two touchdowns for Baltimore last season. While Edwards certainly flourished alongside quarterback Lamar Jackson, Howard is the more proven player with three productive seasons under his belt. However, Edwards is under team control for a couple of more years, and Howard is entering the final year of his rookie contract, meaning that the Ravens could be trading for a one year rental.
With Ty Montgomery and Javorius ‘Buck’ Allen as pending free agents, Baltimore lacks a true pass-catching back on the roster. Unfortunately, Howard does not provide much in the passing game either. All in all, a trade for Howard could be tempting on the surface but ultimately would not make a ton of sense for the Ravens when they can simply take a running back in the upcoming draft.
Free agency, which starts this Wednesday, also presents other options at the position. Those potential players include Le’Veon Bell, Mark Ingram, Tevin Coleman, Jay Ajayi, Spencer Ware, Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, Doug Martin, T.J. Yeldon, Latavius Murray and Carlos Hyde, who was recently cut from the Jacksonville Jaguars.