clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Ravens News 11/1: Roquan Reaction and more

The trade for Roquan Smith is the big story in Ravens circles today.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NFL: NOV 21 Ravens at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ravens’ Lamar Jackson beginning to gain confidence in some of his pass catchers - Jeff Zrebiec

“A lot of people don’t know about our guys, but I feel like we do,” Jackson said. “We do a lot in practice, and those guys show it each and every day. They got an opportunity tonight, and they showed up.”

Jackson has always defended and praised his secondary receiving options. Actions, though, speak louder than words. For much of the season, pass catchers such as Likely, Robinson and Proche have been hardly involved. Against the Buccaneers, Jackson had no choice but to make sure they received targets — and the Ravens got the results they wanted.

That’s where not having Andrews and Bateman last week could benefit the Ravens in the long run. If Jackson gained some confidence in his receivers in that second half, that’s a bonus. If some of those previously seldom-used receivers came away from the game feeling good about themselves and their role in the offense, that’s good, too. And if offensive coordinator Greg Roman learned something about his personnel and its potential without a passing game dominated by Andrews or Bateman, that’s even better.

Ravens WR Rashod Bateman out ‘few weeks’ with foot injury - Jamison Hensley

Rashod Bateman is expected to miss “a few weeks” after aggravating his left foot injury in Thursday’s 27-22 win in Tampa Bay. Ravens coach John Harbaugh said it’s “disappointing” because Baltimore thought Bateman had just tweaked the foot again.

“There’s a little more there from a strain standpoint,” Harbaugh said Monday. “It looks like it’s going to be a few weeks for him. We’ll have more to report on that later in the week.”

Bateman, a first-round pick from a year ago, entered this season as Baltimore’s No. 1 wide receiver after the Ravens traded Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to the Arizona Cardinals during the NFL draft. But Bateman is third on the team with 285 yards receiving on 15 receptions after missing two games earlier this season with the initial foot injury.

The loss of Bateman creates a void in Baltimore’s deep passing game. Bateman ranks second in the NFL with a 19-yard per catch average.

The Ravens lacked a game-changing defender in his prime. Roquan Smith changes that. - Mike Preston

The Ravens desperately needed an impact player on defense. In their three losses this season, they have blown three double-digit fourth-quarter leads. Remember when they allowed four fourth-quarter touchdowns against Miami?

Cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Marcus Williams were the Ravens’ only proven game-changing players on defense, and Williams is out for an extended time with a wrist injury. But Smith changes that dynamic. He’ll help reshape the defense, and will the return of outside linebackers Tyus Bowser and rookie David Ojabo, both of whom are expected to be back on the field soon after recovering from Achilles tendon injuries.

Bowser is a complete linebacker, someone who can cover but also set the edge against the run. Ojabo, the team’s second-round pick out of Michigan, is expected to improve the pass rush and should be a complement to veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston.

If it works out, the linebackers, once a position of weakness, can become a strength.

The addition of Smith was a big, bold move.

Latest NFL News & Rumors - Ari Merov


The Ravens are sending linebacker AJ Klein in addition to a 2023 second- and fifth-round pick to Chicago for Smith. Chicago will eat most of Smith’s remaining salary.

Smith leads the league in tackles this season with 83 and also has 2.5 sacks and two interceptions – but his PFF grade on the year is just 50.8. He’s earned sub-36.0 PFF grades in three games, including this past week against Dallas after allowing a touchdown and three first downs in coverage.

Baltimore has been seeking inside linebacker help for a while, dating back to the offseason when it was a finalist for Bobby Wagner, who ended up with the Los Angeles Rams.

Smith is in the final year of his rookie contract and requested a trade out of Chicago during training camp after both sides failed to reach a long-term contract extension.

Grading the trade: Ravens acquire Roquan Smith from Bears for 2023 draft picks - Jeff Howe

Trade grade (Ravens): Incomplete

If the Ravens extend Smith at a reasonable cost, this trade could reach B-plus/A-minus territory. However, Smith was believed to be asking for nearly $20 million annually over the summer.

Can the Ravens convince him to take less by offering a more direct path to the playoffs than Smith saw in Chicago? Even if Smith tests the market and realizes that money isn’t out there, a return to Baltimore should be viewed as a victory.

Or will Smith — as is his absolute right — utilize his leverage and command top dollar? Players understand teams have an urgency to keep a player long-term after giving up a quality asset such as a second-round draft pick.

If the Ravens only have Smith as a half-season rental and don’t win the Super Bowl, there should be some buyer’s remorse, unless Smith helps them yield a third-round compensatory pick in 2024.

Roquan Smith trade grades for Ravens, Bears: Baltimore acquires two-time All-Pro linebacker - Edwards & Kerr

Ravens B+

The Ravens are certainly getting a playmaker on a defense who has turned things around over the last few weeks. Smith leads the NFL with 83 tackles and always has a knack for finding the football, having two interceptions and 2.5 sacks on the year. Not only has Smith recorded double-digit tackles in all but two games this season, but he has 100-plus tackles in all four of his NFL seasons and his 246 tackles are the fourth-most in the NFL.

Josh Bynes has been reliable for the Ravens since his return last year, but Baltimore needs a playmaking linebacker at the MIKE to pair with Patrick Queen. Whether the Ravens can sign Smith to a long-term deal will validate this trade, but Baltimore is going for it.