Let’s take a look at the possibility of a Baltimore Ravens trade for Allen Robinson:
Star receiver Allen Robinson and the Chicago Bears have struggled to make much ground on a potential extension, with the Penn State product facing a potential trip to free agency when his current deal expires at the end of the 2020 season. And things have now apparently devolved even further, as Robinson may have asked the team about a trade. Robinson’s agent has denied taking that step, but the situation appears to be moving in the wrong direction one way or the other. With the Baltimore Ravens being tied to stars like Jadeveon Clowney and Yannick Ngakoue in recent weeks, and attempting to acquire DeAndre Hopkins this past offseason, could they be a fit if Robinson gets shipped out?
After putting up a masterful 152.1 passer rating in Sunday’s win over the Browns, Lamar Jackson made a case that he doesn’t need any more help. Marquise Brown, Mark Andrews, and Willie Snead all logged at least four catches and 58 yards in the game, with Brown connecting with Jackson for a 47-yard long ball showing off his added strength and fully-healed left foot. Even with the caveat of the Browns’ depleted secondary, the passing game by all accounts looked dynamic.
But looming contract extensions for Jackson, Ronnie Stanley, Marlon Humphrey, and others have placed a sense of urgency on the Ravens to win a Super Bowl now while they have the flexibility to retain so much talent. And the reports of DeCosta sniffing around for further star power would seem to suggest he is both aware of it and open to being aggressive leading up to the trade deadline for the second straight year.
Robinson’s $15-million salary cap hit is less than ideal for a Ravens team that has just $14.2-million in salary cap space according to Over The Cap. However, the Bears could easily convert a portion of Robinson’s salary into a signing bonus to lower his cap hit, something Robinson would likely be more than amenable to in order to facilitate a deal.
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What might such a move cost Baltimore? The last notable rental receiver to move prior to the deadline was Demaryius Thomas, who went to Houston for fourth and seventh-round draft choices. Other receivers to switch hands in recent memory are Mohamed Sanu and Brandin Cooks, who each cost a second-round pick (though Cooks also recouped a fourth-rounder for Houston), though neither was a rental at the time.
One would guess a deal would likely cost Baltimore a third-round pick in the upcoming draft, a hefty price to pay for sure. But after the Ravens were reportedly willing to move a second-round pick to Jacksonville in a sign-and-trade move for Clowney, it appears DeCosta is willing to part with draft capital, even high draft capital, to make another splash.
A receiving depth chart with Robinson in the fold would suddenly give the Ravens one of the deeper stables of wide outs in the NFL. Robinson and Brown would make for a dynamic duo, with Baltimore also boasting enviable depth in the form of Snead, Miles Boykin, 2020 third-round pick Devin Duvernay, and 2020 sixth-round pick James Proche. At 6″3, Robinson would provide a big-bodied compliment to the smaller and quicker Brown, and would also provide the Ravens with a more established and proven big-bodied option than Boykin.
The extension given to Marcus Peters last December shows DeCosta and company are amenable to keeping trade acquisitions around for the long haul, so any deal would not necessarily mean that Robinson is only around for a half season. However, the former Pro Bowler’s expiring contract would also appeal to Baltimore in that it adds no salary cap obligations beyond the current season. A tag-and-trade could be also be a possibility to recoup some draft capital, making the cost of a mid season acquisition more palatable.
Regardless of whether Robinson ends up in the purple and black, the Ravens front office has shown it has every intention of being aggressive in its pursuit of more star power as the team looks to make a Super Bowl run this year. Don’t be surprised to see Baltimore mentioned often in the rumor mill leading up to this year’s trade deadline.