Two pros and two cons for the Ravens making a blockbuster WR trade

Ravens, Deebo Samuel (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Ravens, Deebo Samuel (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /
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Ravens, DK Metcalf Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Con: The value might not be right for the Ravens

Even if the Ravens need upgrades at receiver, it is fair to ask what the correct price should be, and there is a really good argument that the receiver contracts have spun too out of control.

While we don’t know what Lamar Jackson’s ultimate contract will look like, let’s, for now, use the Spotrac numbers which give an estimate of a player’s worth.

They say Lamar Jackson is worth  $44.1 million annually, a pretty typical number for a top 5-10 Quarterback in today’s game, and value D.K. Metcalf at $23.3 million and Deebo Samuel at $25 million, typical numbers for receivers of that stature.

While the statistics of individual players may fluctuate on a year-to-year basis, those are all players who we know are capable of being top-tier at their position, so the question then becomes whether the value that stature of player provides merits the displacement in contract value.

While it is hard to truly compare the value players provide from different positions, there are some numbers we can use.

Pro Football Focus has a stat called PFF War which looks at the play-by-play statistical charting and grading data to come up with football’s equivalent to baseball’s Wins Above Replacement stat.

And while I at times have faults with the way PFF grades quarterbacks and receivers, it can at least be a useful tool in approximating the disparity in positional value.

The top quarterback in PFF WAR for 2021 (Tom Brady) came out nearly seven times as valuable as the top receiver in 2021 (DaVantae Adams). The 12th-ranked quarterback (Derek Carr) came out nearly 4.5 times as valuable as Adams.

These numbers would indicate that no matter what level of top-tier a player stands, receivers making that much money in comparison to quarterbacks are being overvalued.

A similar result comes out when using Football Outsiders’ DYAR stat, which is like a yardage equivalent of WAR with adjustments for strength of schedule.

The top quarterback (Tom Brady again) came out with nearly three times as many DYAR as the leading receiver (Cooper Kupp) with Aaron Rodgers close behind at about 2.5 times Kupp’s number. And that is with Cooper Kupp setting the all-time DYAR record last year, putting up a number of 618 with second place (DaVantae Adams) sitting at 423.

Zooming even farther out, the average DYAR of a top-10 receiver last year was 363.3, while the average DYAR of a top-10 Quarterback was 1,096.3.

Simply put, these numbers indicate that the value of a top-10 receiver and top-10 quarterback simply does not match with the contract numbers we are seeing.

With seemingly endless value available in the draft every year, a team would be better off collecting extra assets and getting a new guy on a rookie deal, as the Titans did.

And while it is easier to make an argument for giving an extension to a player already on someone’s team, giving up picks and then giving a player a contract is a whole other deal.

For a team like the Ravens with a quarterback who is valued as someone worth top-tier money and is at or near the end of their rookie contract, it is simply not prudent to both pay the quarterback out of necessity and then also overpay a receiver.