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Ravens Get a Dawg!

Roquan Smith trade
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For decades the Ravens defense was described in many different ways, none of which that were exactly inviting to an opposing offense. Bullies. Physical. Imposing. Intimidating. Teams knew that when they visited Baltimore, the plane ride home wasn’t going to be all that comfortable. But that hasn’t been the case for quite some time. Since the departures of Messrs. Lewis, Reed, Ngata and Suggs the Ravens have been missing dawgs. Enter Roquan Smith.

Roquan is a tackling machine. He plays fast. He’s a 3-down player. He’s a fierce competitor who diagnoses quickly and has the ability to make the players around him better. He’s a dawg. And now, he’s a Raven.

To get Roquan the Ravens gave up a 2nd-round pick and a 5th-round pick, both in 2023. The Ravens also sent recently acquired linebacker A.J. Klein to the Bears as part of the package.

Smith will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2022 season, so there’s some risk in the deal. Roquan has made it clear to the Bears that he wants a $20M+ per year deal. Whether he gets that level of pay from the Ravens or in the open market remains to be seen. But the deal works very well for the Ravens even if Smith is nothing more than a 9+ game rental.

 

From a strategic perspective, Roquan immediately boosts the tackling acumen for the Ravens middle-of-the-field, short-to-intermediate defense. Since his arrival in the league as the 8th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Smith has regularly been among the league’s leaders in tackles. Plus, Roquan has 47 tackles-for-loss, 20 passes defended, 20 QB hits, 16 ½ sacks and 7 INT’s to his credit during his 69 game career. Smith is a versatile piece who adds to the multiple looks that defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald can dial up.

Perhaps the biggest benefactor in the Roquan Smith-to-Baltimore trade is Patrick Queen. Over the past month we’ve seen Queen really settle in and play consistently well. In 2021, we watched his level of play escalate when Josh Bynes was inserted as Queen’s sidekick at inside linebacker. Imagine the uptick Queen and the rest of the front seven will realize when Bynes is replaced by Smith, the 25-year-old, two-time second-team All Pro.

Some may look at this trade as a back-handed slap at Queen. It’s not. The pair should work very well together as Roquan’s presence and skill set will complement that of Queen’s and perhaps free him to what he does best. If Smith is extended beyond 2022, the tandem will take the field together in 2023 during Queen’s fourth season under his rookie contract. It will however, be interesting to see whether or not the Ravens choose to exercise Queen’s fifth-year option if Smith signs an extension.

If Smith tests free agency and leaves, the Ravens will more than likely pick up a third-round comp pick in 2024. It’s a risk worth taking, particularly when you consider the defensive pieces that will be returning soon, such as Tyus Bowser, David Ojabo and Marcus Williams. Macdonald’s unit has the potential to be a formidable defense.

And perhaps the best news of all for Ravens fans, particularly those who still hold out hope that GM Eric DeCosta will land another wide receiver before the 4PM trade deadline on November 1, is the minimal impact this trade has on the Ravens salary cap – less than $78,000.

Welcome to Baltimore Roquan Smith.

Start barking!

4 Responses

  1. not a slap to queen but an admission he isnt the guy he was drafted to be. No WR. lamar cannot get the ball to a WR. WR does not help the team. A total stud G would have more of an impact.

  2. He might be Bynes replacement now because Bynes is injured but long term, he will be Queens. Yes, Queen is a great athlete, but, unfortunately, it stops there. He missed 4 tackles on Thursday night. He can’t read, take on blocks, and is still poor in coverage. He can blitz. He can run forward. He is inconsistent. Biggest problem is he plays with no knee bend, meaning, poor tackler and poor tackling in space. Ive coached football for over 30 years. I know what I see. See if Queen is with the Ravens next season.

  3. I agree that Roquan is a beast/dog. Maybe he can be that leader on D they have been lacking. This D is improving and getting healthier. The addition of Roquan is a major boost.

    If EDC decides to sign Roquan after the season, that would be a major boost to the future with all the young talent we have. I know we would have to let some players go but I think it would be worth it.

    As far as additions/trades before the deadline, I don’t see it. WR’S? We don’t have the right schemes and it would be a waste and besides we have enough talent if we learn to utilize it.

    WTG EDC. Welcome to Baltimore Roquan and good luck. Let’s go Ravens!!!

Comments are closed.

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