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Ravens News 2/12: OBJ’s trade market and more

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Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Examining the trade value of Baltimore Ravens tackle Orlando Brown - Spielberger & Eager

Looking at the potential trade market, the Baltimore Ravens maintain all the leverage, even with Brown publicly expressing his desire to play elsewhere. The Ravens, by Brown’s own account, have been amenable to his request and have maintained a positive relationship throughout this process, but this is in essence them doing him a big favor. Brown only has three accrued seasons in the NFL, meaning that if he were to hold out from training camp he would not accrue the fourth season required to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2021 season. This would make him a restricted free agent subject to a one-year tender offer well below his market value.

Baltimore will undoubtedly be worse off in 2021 with the loss of a great young bookend on their offensive line — a unit that already lost a star left guard of 13 seasons in Marshal Yanda following the 2019 season. For these reasons, expect the compensation package here to be significant. We wouldn’t expect something at the level of the Laremy Tunsil haul the Miami Dolphins received from the Houston Texans (which included two first-round picks), but a first-round pick could be on the table.

Working in Brown’s and the Ravens’ favor is that a robust market should absolutely develop for a potential starting left tackle. Five teams that are in dire need of a blindside protector all happen to be top 10 in projected 2021 cap space: the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts, Washington Football Team, Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins.


The Likely Destinations

Everyone is in the market for a high-caliber starter at left tackle, but who’s really going to bid for Brown? The Indianapolis Colts should be considered leaders in the clubhouse.

The Chargers are in a similar spot.

The Washington Football Team and Pittsburgh Steelers are also candidates worthy of note.

The price

If multiple teams throw their hat in the ring, a first-rounder won’t be enough. I’d imagine additional draft compensation will be needed to break the Ravens’ will, as they certainly don’t want to relinquish a homegrown talent like Brown, even with his insistence of playing on the left side. In that Peters and Tunsil each required at least one first-round pick in a trade, I think Brown will clear that bar comfortably.

2021 NFL free agency: One offensive free agent each AFC playoff team must keep - David Carr

Baltimore Ravens

D.J. Fluker OT

Restricted free agent Gus Edwards is likely to return to the Ravens’ backfield, but I’m not quite sold on re-upping wide receiver Willie Snead or tight end Eric Tomlinson. Re-signing Fluker is a much smarter move. Like I’ve mentioned before, Baltimore must use Lamar Jackson’s strengths as a mobile quarterback on every snap and fight any temptation to use him as a dropback passer. With the run game the central component to the Ravens’ offense, they need a road-grader and mauler like Fluker to pave the way for J.K. Dobbinsand Edwards. Keeping center Matt Skura is also an option.

Top 3 needs for all 32 NFL teams ahead of the 2021 season - Ian Hartiz


Team Needs: Wide receiver, offensive line, edge

Josh Allen got Stefon Diggs. Kyler Murray got DeAndre Hopkins. Baker Mayfield got Odell Beckham. Lamar Jackson got… Marquise Brown, who is fine, but c’mon people. The unironic “RB playing QB” jokes are old; Lamar Jackson has thrown 62 TDs over the past two seasons with arguably the worst WR room in the league. One of just seven teams with fewer than eight figures in 2021 dollars devoted to the group, Baltimore needs to find Jackson a true No. 1 WR in order for this offense to reach its gaudy ceiling.

RT Orlando Brown wants a trade if he can’t play on the other side, which seems unlikely considering all-world LT Ronnie Stanley should be manning that spot for the better part of the next decade. Regardless, improvement should be considered across the entire group considering they largely declined to invest any real resources in replacing retired perennial All-Pro guard Marshal Yanda following the end of the 2019 season.

Nobody blitzed more often than the Ravens in 2020. And yet they ranked just 18th in pressure rate. This is one of the league’s rare defenses that can largely hold up in coverage even in the absence of a high-end pass-rush; just realize any unit would benefit from further infusion of a legit blue-chip talent on the edge, and only the Jets have fewer 2021 dollars allocated to the position than the Ravens.

Ravens position review: Defensive line helped stop Derrick Henry, but another overhaul is coming soon - Jonas Shaffer

How many veterans return?

The Ravens’ uncertainty at edge rusher is due to hit the defensive line position sooner or later. It’s not a young group, and those under contract aren’t especially cheap. Campbell and Williams are entering their 14th and ninth season, respectively, and 300-plus-pound players don’t tend to age like Tom Brady. In November, Wolfe said he sometimes wakes up on game days in so much pain that “I can’t even put my pants on.”

Even with four pending free agents at the position, it’s two potential 2022 free agents who are most intriguing. Campbell and Williams have a combined cap hit of nearly $30 million in 2021, a hefty price tag for a run-stopping tackle and an end who had sacks in just two games last season. The Ravens would save $10 million by cutting Campbell, a recent Pro Bowl selection, and $7.5 million by releasing Williams, who’s spent his whole career in Baltimore.

Neither move appears likely. Despite modern offensive trends, general manager Eric DeCosta said last month that the Ravens want to remain true to their reputation as an “imposing,” “physical” team. “You can’t be a great passing team and have a poor run defense, because then you won’t have a chance to pass the ball,” he said. “You won’t have a chance to run enough plays.”