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Ravens News 1/17: Impact trades and more

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NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Rams Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Ranking NFL trades that most impacted the 2019 season: 30 deals, from worst to best - Bill Barnwell

2. The Ravens buy low on a franchise corner

Ravens trade: LB Kenny Young, 2020 fifth-round pick

Rams trade: CB Marcus Peters

Peters was basically seen as a salary dump when the Rams sent him to Baltimore in the hours before the Jalen Ramsey deal. Given that the Rams also were planning on trading Aqib Talib off injured reserve to save cash, keeping around Peters as one of their options at corner would seem to have made sense, even if only to acquire a compensatory pick this offseason. Instead, the Rams pocketed a fifth-round pick and Young, who didn’t play a single defensive snap for Wade Phillips’ defense after the trade.

Peters, the former Chiefs star, finished the season as both a Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro selection, which is a testament to how dominant he was in Baltimore. He followed a pick-six he scored with the Rams by adding two more in Baltimore, including one of Russell Wilson in his first game with the Ravens. From the time he arrived in Baltimore, Peters allowed a passer rating of 68.3 as the closest defender in coverage, which ranked among the best marks in football for cornerbacks, let alone guys who were often lining up one-on-one against opposing No. 1 wideouts. The Ravens allowed a QBR of just 31.1 with Peters on the field, down from 59.2 without the 27-year-old in the lineup.

Peters finished his return to form by signing a three-year, $42 million extensionwith Baltimore in December. The playoffs didn’t go as planned for Baltimore and likely MVP Lamar Jackson, but getting Peters for a late-round pick helped push them to the top seed in the AFC.

Impact grade: A-

Complete Guide to the Ravens’ 2020 Offseason - Ryan Mink

Top Areas of Need

Interior offensive lineMatt Skura suffered a torn ACL, MCL and PCL in late November, and is hopeful to be back for training camp, but it’s no guarantee. Undrafted rookie Patrick Mekari stepped in admirably, but the Ravens were beat up front in their playoff loss. If Pro Bowl veteran Marshal Yanda retires, Baltimore will have a big hole inside.

Return specialist – The Ravens finished 30th in the league in kickoff return average (18.3) and eighth in punt return average (8.2). Baltimore flipped from Cyrus Jones to De’Anthony Thomas midseason but it didn’t provide a spark.

2020 Dates to Know

Feb. 24-March 2 - NFL Scouting Combine

March 10 - Last day for teams to place franchise or transition tags on players

March 18 - Free agency opens

March 29-April 1 - NFL League Meetings (Palm Beach, Fla.)

April 23-25: NFL Draft (Las Vegas)

Baltimore Ravens’ Matthew Judon proved his worth. So what would it take to keep him? - Aaron Kasinitz

Spotrac, a site that tracks salary cap matters, estimated Judon’s market value to be $16.3 million per year based on the contracts several comparable players signed. That number would make Judon the 11th highest-paid edge rusher in the NFL.

And it might give the Ravens reason to block Judon from free agency by using the franchise tag, a tool that keeps a player under contract for one season at a hefty price. OverTheCap.com projects that the franchise tag cost for linebackers would be about $16.3 million — right around Judon’s expected value.

Still, the Ravens have more than $33 million in cap space before making any cost-saving moves, per OverTheCap, which provides them more financial flexibility than they’ve had in recent years. And the makeup of Baltimore’s roster might place extra value on an edge rusher like Judon, considering that the team has just two returning outside linebackers under contract for 2020: Tyus Bowser and Jaylon Ferguson.

Lamar Jackson will be back — but the Ravens need to give him a little help to get there - Christian D’Andrea

The Ravens have a young pair of playmakers at tight end and wide receiver. Andrews and Brown should improve after solid 2019 seasons. Ingram is 30 years old — typically not a good sign for non-Frank Gore or Adrian Peterson NFL running backs — but showed no signs of slowing down in a 1,018-yard season in which he averaged 5.0 yards per carry. All three are under contract for 2020.

The Ravens have all of their picks through the first four rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft. They’ll also have the Patriots’ fourth-rounder (acquired in exchange for backup lineman Jermaine Eluemunor) and what will likely be third- or fourth-round compensatory picks after losing C.J. Mosley and John Brown in free agency.

That will give them several shots at a banner crop of wide receiver talent. Baltimore could pair Brown up with his former Oklahoma teammate CeeDee Lamb or dig into a class that may feature standouts like Laviska Shenault, Tee Higgins, K.J. Hamler, Justin Jefferson, or Jalen Reagor toward the end of Round 1 (the team’s first selection will come 28th overall).