With the NFL draft about two weeks away, teams are still scrambling to get their draft boards complete. I heard Louis Riddick this morning comment that teams are just now getting the medical reports on many of the top 150 prospects. Those reports will obviously cause some more juggling of boards.
The Ravens have done a good job of holding onto their own this offseason. They have also gained multiple 4th round comp picks, and added Sammy Watkins as a new weapon for the offense. We will see if those moves work out but I think you have to like what they have done so far. Yes, we would all prefer that they added a more dynamic wide receiver and we know they need help at pass rush, but there are options out there and I feel they will bring one of them in (perhaps Justin Houston, who is visiting this week). The question is, will they sign one before May 3rd? Once May 3rd comes and goes, signings don’t count against the compensatory pick formula.
Perhaps the biggest decision they have to make before now and the draft is what to do with Orlando Brown Jr. Brown came out publicly and said he wants to be a left tackle. He has been given permission to seek a trade but, as Eric DeCosta said, they won’t trade him unless it’s what is best for the team.
One thing I think we can say with some certainty is that Brown will not be extended. The Ravens aren’t going to tie up that much money to bookend tackles, especially when they have so many guys they need to sign long term.
The question becomes, do you trade him now or do you wait? And, if you trade him, how do you replace him?
If you wait on trading him, do you risk him coming into camp out of shape or unmotivated? It’s easy to say that it would be his contract year and he should go all out – and maybe he will – but he wouldn’t be the first disgruntled player to disappoint. DeCosta has said that he is on board with their plan and maybe Brown has said “if you can’t find the right deal for me, I will happily play right tackle in 2021.” Of course, we don’t really know if he has said anything to that effect, but if he has, it makes it easier.
I am of the opinion that you deal him now, while his value is high. The team that gets him knows they have him for 2-3 years (because of the franchise tag) and he is coming off a pro bowl season, so it’s unlikely his value will be higher. The other side to that is, of course, you are trying to win a Super Bowl and the Ravens themselves can franchise him next offseason, that way they can trade him and ensure they get something more than a late 3rd round comp pick.
While this goes without saying, this all depends on what you can get for him right now. Rumors are all over the place about who wants him, who has engaged in talks and what has been put on the table. My guess is that the Ravens believe a first-round pick needs to come back in the trade (even if it’s a 2022 first rounder) unless they are getting some young player back themselves. I would guess that no first round picks have been offered yet or if they have, the picks are low in the first round and they want a better sweetener than what is being offered.
I have no issue with Brown wanting to play LT. I would have an issue if he stays and basically tanks it although I really don’t think he would do that. I do like the idea of adding cheaper, cost-controlled guys though. This roster is about to get expensive fast, so having more draft picks making very little money will help offset some of that, which is another reason I am high on trading him right now.
Whatever the Ravens decide to do, they have my trust and should be given the benefit of the doubt. If Brown is committed to playing RT next year, they are certainly in a good spot. They either trade him for a good haul or they hold onto him and have arguably the best tandem tackle duo in the NFL, while they are trying to win a title.