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Let’s just call it for what it is – an orchestrated attempt to get his client some up front money!  That is exactly what Ray Lewis’ recent pity party is all about.  The way I see it, the whining is part of a carefully crafted plan by Lewis’ agent David Dunn to force the Ravens into making some kind of move that will eventually land his client some up front cake while at the same time earning himself a nice fee and another feather in his cap to sell to other potential clients.
How else does Dunn justify his existence in Ray Lewis’ world?
Speaking of Ray Lewis’ world, Mike Preston of The Sun in his piece on Saturday wrote, “So if [the Ravens] can get a couple of picks for Lewis, and unless they can trade up from No. 13 to No. 7 to get Texas quarterback Vince Young (keep an eye on that situation), then go for it. Trade Lewis. Make his day.”
What about both?
Many have indicated that the best the Ravens could hope for in terms of trade value for Ray Lewis is a second round pick.  The difference in value between the No. 7 pick and the No. 13 pick is 350 points according to the Trade Value Chart.  That is the equivalent of a late second round pick.  If the Ravens were serious about moving to No. 7 and Vince Young was still on the board, perhaps a swap of picks and Ray Lewis gets the job done.
Everyone would be happy right?  Sure, if it was only that easy.
First, one has to assume that Young is available at No. 7 and if he is one must further assume that Al Davis will not fall hard for the boom or bust pick.
And then there’s the matter of Ray Lewis and the impact his trade would have on the Ravens’ cap.  To keep Ray on the roster, the cap figure is $8.2 million in 2006 (see below).  To trade or release him, the figure is $8.1 million according to the figures available.  While that represents a cap savings of $100,000, the Ravens will have to replace him and chances are they would do so with a veteran, at least initially.  Then of course there is the public relations nightmare that is a byproduct of trading a hero.  Eddie Murray, Frank Robinson and Johnny Unitas come to mind.
Even a hero whose image has been sullied will still have a large contingent of fans who won’t forget the good times and cling to the hope that it can be that way again.  Sorry this isn’t Iowa Ray — no field of dreams here.  It’s ok to remember the good times yet it is unlikely that it will ever be that way again when it comes to Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens.
While a veteran inside backer might make the most sense to replace Ray if a trade does occur (to add a vet would cost the team about $700,000), another solution could arrive via the 2006 NFL Draft.  One candidate that the Ravens seem pretty high on is Ernie Sims from Florida State.  I asked Eric DeCosta to compare Sims to a current NFL player when that player was in college, something that scouts will often do when trying to project a player’s potential impact in the NFL.
“I would compare him to [Jonathan] Vilma or Derrick Brooks, said DeCosta.  “I think he’s explosive, he’s fast, he’s aggressive, he’s smart and tough.  He’s just not real big.  In certain schemes he’s not going to fit.  I think in a 3-4 defense you’re not going to like him as much because your inside linebackers have to be bigger, thicker, stronger guys.  If you’re in a 4-3 defense and you’re looking for a guy who can run to the ball and make a lot of plays, Ernie Sims is that kind of player and I expect him to be a very good player in the NFL.”
Another need the Ravens have is at running back, particularly that change of pace/third down back.  One of my personal favorites in the collegiate ranks is Maurice Drew out of UCLA who offers versatility and is a very good kick returner.  I asked DeCosta to compare Drew to a player at the NFL level.
“You’ve gotta love that kid.  Comparison wise, I’ll compare him to Joe Morris.  He’s short, very, very thick, very strong lower body, 200 pounds and carries a tremendous amount of weight in his lower body.  He runs hard, he runs tough, he’s an excellent pass protector with good hands – an exceptional third down back.  He’s definitely someone that the Ravens will be interested in at the right point in the draft because he has great intangibles and we’re looking for a guy who can do some things on third down and replace Chester Taylor.  Maurice is a guy who could possibly do that.”
Drew is projected as a late second round to early third round pick and that isn’t a match for the Ravens – at least at this point.  He’s considered to be a bit of a reach at No. 44 and the Ravens currently do not have a third round pick.  But don’t be surprised to see the Ravens somehow land a No. 3 and if they do, perhaps this versatile Bruin could be sporting purple in the Fall.

* The impact of Ray Lewis’ contract

Cap # per contract 
Cap # if cut/trade (1)
Cap/Cash Savings 
(1) Cap number if cut before June 1st

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is the founder EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com. His work has been featured on various sports websites and he hosts The Russell Street Report and Armchair Quarterback both seen and heard on Fanimal Radio. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi. More from Tony Lombardi

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