The Tyreek Hill trade takes a page out of Ravens’ franchise philosophy

Ravens, Tyreek Hill (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Ravens, Tyreek Hill (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) /

The Kansas City Chiefs’ blockbuster Tyreek Hill trade may have shocked most of the league this offseason, but consider the Baltimore Ravens unsurprised.

When the Chiefs’ front office was deciding whether to negotiate Hill’s contract, we’d imagine they were thinking, “WWBD,” or What Would Baltimore Do?

In 2022, Hill was due for a huge contract extension with the Chiefs, at the time making a modest $18 million dollars per year, but following Kansas City’s disappointing playoff exit the two sides had yet to reach a mutually agreed-upon deal.

When Davante Adams’ trade to the Raiders reset the wide receiver market, Hill went after the money while the Chiefs cut their losses.

As unique of a talent as Hill was, the Chiefs made a sensible move by trading him — which is exactly what the Ravens would have done had Eric DeCosta been in Brett Veach’s shoes.

In the Hill trade, the Chiefs received five draft picks: first-, second-, and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft, plus fourth- and sixth-round picks in the 2023 draft.

The Ravens’ organizational philosophy is a winner’s philosophy

Hill was an irreplaceable one-of-a-kin receiver, and by letting him go, the Chiefs knew they would sacrifice their short-term success: Say goodbye to the Super Bowl in 2023.

Yet that massive draft haul ensures that Kansas City’s championship window will stay open for the next five to 10 years, not just the next one or two.

As long as Kansas gets to keep its quarterback prodigy, Hill is replaceable in the sense that the team can and will achieve success without him — just down the road, not at the immediate turn.

Having the patience and foresight to build a sustainable, winning franchise embodies the core of the Ravens’ organizational philosophy more so than anybody else’s.

Draft and develop young players to stay competitive year after year, and find passionate players with a team mentality who want to compete for championships together.

Hill abandoned arguably the best quarterback in the NFL to become the highest-paid wide receiver in history, and that’s his personal preference. We doubt Lamar Jackson would leave the Ravens if they didn’t make him the highest-paid quarterback in the league, and that’s just his personal preference.

No team’s model for success is more “correct,” and one needs only look at the Los Angeles Rams who went all-in last season on expensive talents and ended up winning the Super Bowl.

When it comes to longevity, though, the Ravens’ method outlives all others and serves as the principal factor in how Baltimore has grown into one of the most respectable organizations in football.

A knee-jerk reaction to the Hill trade might be “the Chiefs should have kept him at all costs,” but the more prudent decision is letting him walk out the door.

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For that, Eric DeCosta and the Ravens’ front office give the Chiefs a round of applause. It’s not easy parting with a unicorn offensive weapon like Tyreek Hill, but sometimes it has to be done.