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The Ravens Just Pushed All Their Chips In The Middle By Trading For Roquan Smith

This is big time.

The Ravens are a bona fide Super Bowl contender. They were at the beginning of the year and there's been some serious bumps and bruises along the way, but they've righted the ship the past couple of weeks. They're not without flaws and they know that. I had heard over the weekend that they were on the horn looking to make their team better and put this out there.

Then BAM! The biggest name on the market is now a Baltimore Raven.

There are a few flaws on the roster that the Ravens could have attacked with a trade. Wide receiver is the easiest answer for sure, especially after news dropped today that Rashod Bateman will be on the shelf for a few weeks with a foot injury. I'm all for upgrading at that spot, but there's been a void in the middle of the defense since CJ Mosley left after the 2018 season. No disrespect to Patrick Queen, he's a talented guy who can do a lot of special things, but he's not an all-around menace that can quarterback your defense the way Roquan can. 

Roquan can be an absolute rock for our front 7. The ILB position has been devalued over the years and there's a very short list of guys that can truly make an impact singlehandedly. Roquan is at the top of that list. That's why he was taken 8th overall in an era where ILB's rarely even go in the top half of the first round. 

There is a big matzah ball out there about his contract. It's expiring this year, so many are looking at this as a rental. I'm not so convinced. He's such a great fit in this defense and the Ravens don't typically make moves so heavily weighted towards short-term reward. Roquan asked for a trade in Chicago before the season because they haven't been willing to pay him an extension, among other reasons (namely, that franchise is going nowhere fast). Eric DeCosta knows that and I'm confident that he wouldn't be making this trade if he wasn't going to take a run at signing him long-term. Of course, that question looms at the same time as the bigger question about Lamar's extension, plus the fact that you can only use the franchise tag on one of the two. That's serious leverage for each of those two guys, but I'm sure any deal with either/both of them would be quite front loaded with the cap going up in the future.

Regardless, the Ravens are cementing their status as 2022 contenders. The linebacker room is getting Tyus Bowser back next week and may be getting David Ojabo too. That's to go with a now healthy Justin Houston, JPP, Odafe Oweh and of course... PQ. Such a wild assortment of different talents that can be packaged in all kinds of ways, with each of those guys getting plenty of breathers.

I'm still hoping something is done about WR. Maybe they will before tomorrow's deadline. But with the way the Ravens ran the football in the 2nd half last week, it's clear that this team is leaning further into a possession football mentality. Our goal is going to continue to be to bully teams. And Roquan Smith is most assuredly a bully.

Welcome to Baltimore.