The Ravens have done it before. In March 2010, they traded two draft picks to the Arizona Cardinals for wide receiver Anquan Boldin. In August 2011, they sent one draft pick to the Buffalo Bills for wide receiver Lee Evans.
In both situations, the Ravens were looking for a veteran receiver and found a team with a surplus of pass catchers and a desire to get some younger players into more prominent roles. Could the Ravens again benefit from a similar circumstance?
Much of the outside focus has been on the Ravens potentially adding a free-agent receiver such as Boldin, Victor Cruz or Michael Floyd. That seems to be the more likely scenario given that trades are relatively rare. However, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has pulled them off before, and giving up a mid-round 2018 draft pick or two might be easier to swallow with the Ravens in line to get a third-round compensatory pick in 2018.
Below are a few teams that theoretically could be a potential trade partner for the Ravens given their wide receiver situation. To be clear, this is speculative and is not based on any known trade talk.
Buffalo Bills: Sean McDermott’s team doesn’t have much depth at the position, even after using a second-round pick on Zay Jones. But there has been speculation about Sammy Watkins’ availability after the Bills confirmed that they weren’t going to pick up his fifth-year option for 2018. Watkins, the fourth overall draft pick in 2014, is extremely talented and is just 23 years old. However, he’s missed 11 games over the past two seasons and was limited last year with foot problems. There’s been no indication Watkins is available, but with him expected to hit free agency after the 2017 season and a new regime in charge in Buffalo, it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Los Angeles Chargers: Looking for outside help for Philip Rivers, the Chargers drafted Clemson’s Mike Williams with the seventh overall pick. They also have both Keenan Allen and Travis Benjamin coming back from injury. Dontrelle Inman and Tyrell Williams both had breakout seasons last year when pressed into bigger roles because of injuries. One or two of those guys could become available at some point.
New York Jets: The Jets have a lot of young receivers. Quincy Enunwa and Robby Anderson both flashed last season. New York used third- and fourth-round picks this year on ArDarius Stewart and Chad Hansen. A number of other young receivers, including Jalin Marshall, Charone Peake and an injured Devin Smith, are still on the roster. Could the Jets' youth movement at the position, plus the fact that they are not expected to contend this season, prompt them to move on from veteran Eric Decker? He’s coming off offseason hip and shoulder surgery, and he has quite a bit of money left on his contract. It doesn’t make much sense for a rebuilding Jets team to keep him.
New England Patriots: It would be hard to imagine these two AFC rivals matching up on a trade. However, the Patriots certainly have a surplus of wide receivers. Julian Edelman and the recently acquired Brandin Cooks are their top two. Beyond them, they still have Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Malcolm Mitchell, all of whom played a significant role at different points of their Super Bowl-winning season last year. They also just recently claimed Devin Street on waivers. Nobody uses their personnel better than the Patriots, so they might want to keep them all. However, if a guy such as Amendola were available, it would make a lot of sense for the Ravens.
Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles clearly prioritized getting impressive young quarterback Carson Wentz help this offseason. They added Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency. They drafted Mack Hollins and Shelton Gibson in the fourth and fifth rounds, respectively. They also still have Jordan Matthews, Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham on their roster. It’s almost inconceivable they’ll be able to carry all seven on their regular-season roster. Agholor and Green-Beckham, former first- and second-round picks, have been significant disappointments. However, Matthews would seemingly be a nice fit for the Ravens, and he probably wouldn’t cost a ton in return.