As of this writing, Alex Lewis is no longer a Baltimore Raven.
The means by which Lewis has been ousted still remain up in the air, as initial reports indicated Lewis was released (according to Lewis himself on Instagram) while Ian Rappaport suggests a trade may be in the works.
#Ravens O-lineman Alex Lewis announced on Instagram that Baltimore plans to release him, though there has been trade interest in the former starter over the past few days and he could end up getting traded instead of released. pic.twitter.com/NvluGclFVu
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 5, 2019
The trade route seems to make the most sense; after all, the NFL is struggling with an Offensive Line shortage in both starting-caliber talent and depth, and the likelihood that Lewis could warrant a Day 3 pick isn’t necessarily out of the question.
And with that, I offer this potential trade that I feel makes sense for all parties involved:
This trade scenario is 100% about new homes and meeting needs.
For the Texans, they need to continue to add depth and talent to the offensive line in an effort to protect quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Texans were expected to address the line early in the draft, and did so with the picks of OT Tytus Howard and OT Max Scharping, although there are questions about Howard being extremely raw and Scharping not quite ready to jump into a starting role. Regardless, Lewis would provide some depth on the inside of the line, which remains a major need for Houston.
Still on the Houston side of this deal, the Texans recently released RB D’Onta Foreman, a 2018 draft pick that failed to pan out. While Lamar Miller is still the de facto starter in Houston, do they truly like guys like Buddy Howell, Tawain Jones, Josh Ferguson or Karan Higdon to be the RB2 on the roster?
Adding Dixon would give the Texans a high end RB2 that could spell Miller from time to time. He also provides Watson with another weapon in the passing game (never hurts!).
In regards to Baltimore, we already know Lewis is gone, and Dixon currently sits at RB4 behind Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill. If the Ravens aren’t planning to keep four running backs, he should already be on the trading block.
For the Ravens, we all know the biggest question mark remains the pass rush. While Mercilus is no longer the threat he once was (in 2015 he had 12 sacks at his peak), he can still provide another rotation edge rusher for the Ravens to add to their current group of rookies like Jaylon Ferguson and veterans like Shane Ray.
Contractually, all players involved (Dixon, Lewis, Mercilus) are in their final year, making this trade nothing more than a ‘fresh start’ attempt for all parties. If it doesn’t pan out? They’re gone next year. If it does? Try to retain them next offseason.
So why the conditional pick? And what conditions?
The reason for adding the conditional pick is a function of value. The Ravens would be providing Houston with a pair of players that should contribute more to the roster than Mercilus, potentially. The Ravens would also be taking on a greater salary ($5.25M for Mercilus, $2.8M for Houston). The value of the pick would be derived from playing time of all players, and range from a 5th down to a 7th.
Is it likely that Baltimore makes this specific move?
Would it be a no-brainer should the conversation be underway with Eric DeCosta and his Texans counterparts?