By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens didn’t make a move up against the Tuesday at 4:00 pm NFL trade deadline. There were many speculated moves and none ended up going through. What should we make of this? Let’s dive into it.
First, Eric DeCosta showed discipline. He didn’t make a trade just to make a trade. Either there were no solutions available or no prices worth it. The Ravens were up against the cap and they value their draft picks. The Ravens aren’t the Los Angeles Rams, they like to keep busy in April.
DeCosta didn’t have a perfect trade out there. There weren’t a lot of options for offensive line help and they already made their play with the Cedric Ogbuehi signing. A running back like Marlon Mack would have been an acceptable trade – the offensive line still would have been an issue and Mack stayed with the Colts.
The trade deadline happened to be relatively quiet. Sure, there was that flashy Von Miller trade. Most of the trades however were low-cost rentals like the Pittsburgh Steelers sending Melvin Ingram to the Kansas City Chiefs for a 6th round pick.
Ravens fans have gotten a bit spoiled by the unbelievable work DeCosta has done with limited draft capital. This is the general manager who swiped Marcus Peters away for Kenny Young and a fifth-round pick. It’s also the GM, who got Calais Campbell for a fifth-round pick.
Last year the Ravens made a move to get Yannick Ngakoue. The move didn’t pan out as the Ravens hoped it would. A trade that doesn’t accomplish much is what you try to avoid. No move is better than a bad move. DeCosta showed that his aggressive tendency isn’t aggressive for the sake of going for it.
The Baltimore Ravens are 5-2. Repeat that mark and they’ll be 11-4 with just a couple of games left. After their bye week, the Ravens are back in first place in the AFC North. They certainly weren’t in a position to be sellers. The sky isn’t falling so they didn’t need to resort to drastic measures. The Ravens didn’t need to make a move just because there was a deadline.
If you wanted help for the offensive line, I have to seriously ask you, what could the Ravens have done? It’s not like there’s a lot of options. A right tackle in the middle of the season doesn’t fall out of the sky. Even bad teams need to get through the season and offensive linemen are the least expendable players other than quarterbacks.
The truth is that you could go right down the line of every potential position to trade for and come to the conclusion that it was either slim pickings or the trade you wanted was unrealistic. If you’re looking at the whole situation there was no way you could expect a trade even with DeCosta’s history of making moves to help the team.
Where does this leave the team?
The Ravens have problems that could sink them. The offensive line was their demise against the Buffalo Bills in the playoffs last season. The inconsistent play at running back and linebacker has resulted in bad outcomes on the field and the problems aren’t magically going to go away. The team needs to figure these things out with signings or by working with what they have.
The Cedric Ogbuehi signing is likely to work out. In this sentence, the term works out is defined as better than Tyre Phillps at right tackle and serviceable overall. That’s not a high bar and it’s a realistic one. Nick Boyle will automatically improve the run game due to his blocking. The Ravens adding a pass rusher to the mix was never going to happen.
The Ravens addressed linebacker with the addition of Josh Bynes. It’s worked out well and in a less pivotal role, Patrick Queen is playing better. The Ravens can’t further their cost at linebacker. They’ve already invested draft picks into the position. The linebackers just have to tackle better in the open field.
The Baltimore Ravens could have been reckless. They didn’t go all-in just to announce to the football world they were looking for a Super Bowl. Baltimore stayed disciplined. They kept their plans for the future intact and they bet that a 5-2 team would find a way to continue their march towards the playoffs. DeCosta either believes in his team, or he values his draft picks more than what was out there for the taking. Either way, it’s not a bad thing for the Ravens.