Potential Ravens Trade Deadline Targets: Unrealistic v Realistic

Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne

Getty Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne is one of the realistic trade options that the Ravens could explore at the deadline.

During his first three full years at the helm of the team’s front office, Baltimore Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta has been one the most aggressive executives at the midseason trade deadline. This year’s cut-off point will come on Tuesday, November 1, 2022, at 4 p.m. Eastern.

DeCosta hasn’t shied away from going after big names to address and bolster premium positions, especially on the defensive side of the ball. In 2019, he acquired All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters at the deadline in a swindle of a deal. The following year, he traded for Pro Bowl pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue and last season, he reportedly tried to acquire three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Xavien Howard from the Miami Dolphins but didn’t have enough cap space to swing the trade.

According to spotrac.com, the Ravens currently have just $2.27 million in available cap space. With some creative accounting or extending a key player or two, DeCosta could potentially make a move to acquire an experienced depth or rotational piece at a position of need. There are plenty of players reportedly on the trading block that would be great fits and fill perceived deficiencies and weaknesses on the roster.

However, not all of them are realistic possibilities to get dealt to Baltimore due to their contract and remaining salary as well as the teams that they currently play for would create a competitive disadvantage because they’re in the same division or conference.


Unrealistic

Denver Broncos WRs Jerry Jeudy & KJ Hamler:

Coming into Week 8, both of the third-year wideouts were among the most popular possible trade options had the team lost to the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars in London and not shown any improvement on offense. However, after they prevailed 21-17 thanks in large part to clutch plays by each of them, the belief is that the front office is still holding out hope that they’ll be able to get things turned around and heading in the right direction and would need fair compensation to consider trading either of them according to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter. The Ravens also play the Broncos in Week 13 and teams rarely deal impactful players to teams they have yet to play and could come back to bite or even cost them ground in the playoff race.

Chicago Bears ILB Roquon Smith:

The Ravens have been linked to the former top-10 pick for months since he first requested a trade. While the addition of a two-time Second Team All-Pro selection would certainly provide a boost to their inside linebacker depth chart, they have been receiving vastly improved play at the position from their players already on the roster such as Patrick Queen who has had a dominant second month of the season. Smith is also playing on his fifth-year option which means that he is expensive and whatever team he lands on would need to be responsible for the remainder of his fully guaranteed salary.

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Chase Claypool:

The third-year pro is another high-profile name rumored to be on the trade block although the team has refuted those reports according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Even though he is still playing on his rookie contract and is the ideal receiver from a size and skillset standpoint for the Ravens, the Steelers would not make a trade with a division rival during the regular season who they still have to play twice this year.

Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt:

While ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the team is willing to grant the sixth-year veteran’s request to seek a trade, it is highly unlikely that they’ll approve a potential offer for the Ravens whose top running backs are returning from major injuries and are having a little trouble staying healthy through the first half of the season. Hunt would be a great fit in Baltimore from a schematic standpoint but in addition to the Browns likely not wanting to help a division rival get better, he has an incident of a violent act against a woman that he served an eight-game suspension as a result of. After the infamous, Ray Rice incident nearly a decade ago, the organization, and especially owner Steve Bisciotti would not be interested in a player with that history no matter how talented.

Carolina Panthers WR DJ Moore:

Despite the bone-headed mistake he made at the end of regulation of the team’s Week 8 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, the Panthers are still highly unlikely to move him because even at 2-6 they are still very much in the mix to win the much-maligned NFC South. There’s also the obstacle of his contract that he just signed and while he isn’t owed much money this season, his base salary and cap hits ballon after this season per spotrac.com. If the Ravens were going to make a move for one of the Panthers’ top receivers entering the season, it should’ve been for Robbie Anderson who was the cheaper albeit older of the two.

Houston Texans WR Brandin Cooks:

The ninth-year veteran has recorded over 1,000 receiving yards in six of his first eight seasons and possesses plenty of veteran savvy and big-play potential. However, while he is only owed less than $1 million in salary and bonuses for the rest of this season due to an extension he signed this offseason, Cooks has $18 million fully guaranteed for the 2023 season and would carry a dead cap charge of $34.2 million to the team that tried to release him. He only has 32 receptions on 53 targets for 354 receiving yards and one touchdown in seven starts this season according to Pro Football Reference.


Realistic

Indianapolis Colts CB Stephon Gilmore:

The five-time Pro Bowler and 2019 Defensive Player of the Year signed a two-year deal with the Colts in April worth $20 million but according to spotrac.com, there is a potential out for the second year of the deal that would only require a team to take on just $2 million in dead money if he is not retained. If the Ravens trade for him, it could essentially be a one-year rental that pays major dividends. His arrival would give the Ravens three elite multi-time Pro Bowlers at cornerback and free up Marlon Humphrey to move inside to the slot as needed and rotate Marcus Peters who suffered a torn ACL in 2021 that caused him to miss the entire season.

New England Patriots WR Kendrick Bourne:

While his teammate Nelson Agholor is generating more buzz as a potential target on the trading block, Bourne is a better fit for the Ravens and a cheaper option of the two. He is in the second year of a three-year deal he signed last offseason and according to spotrac.com only has a base salary of $3.5 million in 2022 with a cap hit of $6.4 million and is due about $2.36 million for the remainder of the season. Not only would he provide the Ravens with a big-bodied possession receiver that can block and is accustomed to playing in run-heavy offensive schemes, but he’d also come on a very affordable deal and is under contract through the 2023 season.

Seattle Seahawks CB Sidney Jones:

While the sixth-year veteran isn’t as multi-time Pro Bowler as Gilmore, he could still provide quality experienced depth and is much cheaper. He has started half of his 50 career regular season games and according to spotrac.com, is playing on a one-year deal he signed this offseason for just $3.6 million with a base salary of just $1.52 million and a cap hit of $3.56 million. Jones has only been active for three games this season as the Seahawks have opted to rely on a pair of impressive rookies and other younger corners. He likely wouldn’t command anything higher than a late-round pick that could even be conditional.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sean Murphy-Bunting:

After starting in 31 of his first 41 career regular season games and another in four in the team’s 2020 Superbowl run, the fourth-year pro appears to have fallen out of favor in Tampa. He has appeared in five games this season and hasn’t made a single start and has only seen 42 total defensive snaps. Given his experience, ball skills, and the fact that he’s only due less than $1.5 million for the rest of the season makes Murphy-Bunting another viable trade target if he is healthy after missing the team’s last three games with a quad injury.

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