Eric DeCosta continues to swing for the fences at the cusp of free agency. After an extremely active weekend in which the Ravens re-signed multiple players and traded for DE Calais Campbell, ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced this afternoon that Baltimore has made another trade - this time sending TE Hayden Hurst to the Atlanta Falcons.
In addition to Hurst, the Ravens are sending the Falcons a 2020 fourth-round pick in exchange for Atlanta’s second and fifth-round pick this year.
Trade terms.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 16, 2020
Atlanta gets: Tight end Hayden Hurst and Ravens’ 2020 4th-round pick.
Baltimore gets: Falcons’ 2020 2nd-round pick and Falcons 2020 5th-round pick.
As it turns out, the Falcons’ fifth-round pick already has been sent to Jacksonville for Calais Campbell.
It’s rare to see the Ravens trade a former first-round pick before his rookie deal expires, which is precisely the case here. However, Hurst’s name has been floated around in trade rumors dating back to last season, when it was reported that the Ravens may have been shopping him in an effort to acquire CB Jalen Ramsey.
As early as a few weeks ago, reports surfaced that several teams were interested in Hurst’s services. After seeing their starting tight end of the past several seasons, Austin Hooper, sign with the Browns earlier today, a need at the position opened up for the Falcons and therefore made them a prime trade partner for Baltimore.
Hurst’s stint with the Ravens now comes to an end after just two seasons. His rookie season got off to a rough start after he missed the opening portion of the year with a foot injury but he put together a decent sophomore campaign, hauling in 30 receptions for 349 yards and two touchdowns this past season.
Hurst is a solid all-around tight end who many believed should have been utilized more as pass-catcher in the offense. With Mark Andrews hogging targets and Nick Boyle playing the majority of tight end snaps, though, it was difficult to see Hurst’s role expanding significantly next season and beyond.
Now, Hurst has a great chance to capitalize in a new situation. Hurst will likely face little-to-no competition for playing time in Atlanta and can potentially step in as at three-down player in their offense. He’ll turn 27 years old just before the start of the 2021 season.
For the Ravens, losing Hurst is bittersweet. He was an important cog in their offense this past year as both a blocker and situational receiving threat. However, it puts them in prime position to make an additional move - particularly in the draft.
Baltimore now has a total of nine draft picks and all but two of them are in the first four rounds. In addition to pick No. 28 in the first round, the Ravens are in possession of two second-round picks, two third-round picks and two more selections in the fourth round.
With a boatload of ammunition at his disposal, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see DeCosta attempt to trade up on draft night - especially if a player they like begins to slide down the board. Trading up to draft one of the top receivers, say a Jerry Jeudy or Henry Ruggs III, for example, could be a possible scenario.
At the same time, the Ravens could simply be accumulating a heavy dose of draft picks with the intention of using all of them to acquire talent and fill holes on the roster. Either way, this trade gives them more flexibility in that department.
What are your thoughts on this move? Share them below and join in on the conversation!