The Ravens are standing pat.
The NFL trade deadline came and went Tuesday without Baltimore making a move. Coach John Harbaugh said the day before that he thinks the team has everything it needs in terms of players to be successful, and the lack of adding to the roster seems to indicate general manager Eric DeCosta feels the same.
DeCosta, who typically does not speak to the media during the season, was unavailable for comment.
“Do we have a specific overarching have-to-have guy? No,” Harbaugh said Monday. “We have an excellent roster.”
Though the NFL trade deadline doesn’t produce the same flurry of activity that is seen in other sports such as the NBA and MLB, there were deals to be made.
The San Francisco 49ers strengthened their already elite defense by reportedly trading a 2024 third-round pick for Commanders star defensive end Chase Young. Washington also unloaded their other defensive end, Montez Sweat, to the Chicago Bears for a second-round draft pick next year.
The Minnesota Vikings, who lost quarterback Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season to a torn Achilles tendon Sunday, traded sixth- and seventh-round picks to the Arizona Cardinals for a seventh-round pick and quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who had filled in while Kyler Murray continued to work his way back from a torn ACL.
The Detroit Lions, meanwhile, landed wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones from the Cleveland Browns for a sixth-round pick in 2025.
And just up I-95, Eagles general manager Howie Roseman a week before the deadline perhaps bolstered Philadelphia’s chances of returning to the Super Bowl by acquiring Titans All-Pro safety Kevin Byard, whose 27 interceptions since 2016 are the most in the NFL.
As for the Ravens, they appear to be happy with a roster that has produced a 6-2 record and boasts the league’s best defense in multiple metrics, including sacks (31), points allowed per game (15.1) and is No. 1 in FTN Fantasy’s Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA). On offense, they lost their top running back J.K. Dobbins for the season to a torn Achilles tendon in Week 1, but Justice Hill and Gus Edwards have done a solid if unspectacular job filling in.
Still, despite their success this season the Ravens have endured uneven performances on both sides of the ball, and Harbaugh said they were open to a potential trade.
“If an opportunity came to bring in somebody that can help us or make us better in any area, really, but certain areas more than others of course, and you can do it in a way that’s affordable to the team and the club cap-wise [and] draft pick-wise, those kind of things, you would do it,” he said. “You would do it to try and get better.”
That’s what they did a year ago, trading 2023 second- and fifth-round picks, along with linebacker A.J. Klein, to the Chicago Bears for All-Pro inside linebacker Roquan Smith. This season, Smith leads the team in tackles and is the unquestioned vocal leader in the locker room and on the field.
In 2019, the Ravens also made a major move at the deadline, acquiring cornerback Marcus Peters from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and a 2020 fifth-round pick. Peters tore his ACL in 2021 and missed the season, but in 37 games with Baltimore had eight interceptions, including two for touchdowns, during the regular season, and his interception late in a wild-card playoff game against the Titans during the 2020 season helped seal a 20-13 victory.
Though tight on cap space — just $2.8 million currently — the Ravens did have the assets to make a move.
Baltimore has eight picks in next April’s draft, with one pick through each of the first five rounds, plus their own seventh-round pick. They also have the Jets’ seventh-rounder from the Chuck Clark trade and will likely get a compensatory fourth-round pick after left guard Ben Powers signed with the Denver Broncos in free agency in the offseason. They will also open up more cap space with each week outside linebacker Tyus Bowser, long snapper Nick Moore and rookie offensive lineman Andrew Vorhees remain on the non-football injury list, and there are almost always contracts that can be restructured to manufacture more.
However, it’s possible that Bowser could soon be returning from his knee injury, with Harbaugh saying Monday that the veteran is “optimistic” he would be back in the next few weeks. He also said that cornerback Damarion “Pepe” Williams is expected to be coming off injured reserve after undergoing ankle surgery in August.
“I love our guys,” Harbaugh said. “I think we have everything we need to be successful.”
Time will tell.