The Baltimore Ravens made one of the biggest splashes at the trade deadline this year when they send a pair of draft picks to the Chicago Bears in exchange for star linebacker Roquan Smith.
The acquisition of Smith bolsters an already talented Ravens defense and served as one of the marquee trades of the season. For that reason, it’s no surprise to see many praising the Ravens for their deadline performance.
ESPN’s Dan Graziano recently dubbed the Ravens the biggest winners of the trade deadline, not only because of the Smith acquisition but also because of what happened to their division rivals.
Graziano praised the Smith trade while also pointing out that the Cincinnati Bengals didn’t make any acquisitions to address their needs. On top of that, the Bengals lost both star wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase and top cornerback Chidobie Aquzie to serious injuries.
The Ravens got better while the Bengals got worse. As such, Baltimore gained more ground than perhaps any team in the NFL over the last week or so.
"“Baltimore holds a one-game lead in the division, has a head-to-head win against Cincinnati already in its pocket and doesn’t play another team all season that currently has a winning record. In terms of whose outlook appears significantly improved from a week ago, the Ravens are the first team that jumped to my mind.”"
The Ravens came away as major winners from the trade deadline
The Smith trade is obviously the biggest talking point in Baltimore. The two-time second-team All-Pro gives the Ravens the best linebacker they’ve had since C.J. Mosley and could help transform the team’s defense.
However, Graziano’s point about the Bengals shouldn’t be overlooked. The Ravens currently hold a one-game lead over the Bengals heading into Week 9, and the losses of Chase and Awuzie could put a significant damper on Cincinnati’s season.
We saw those struggles firsthand on Monday night as the Bengals were blown out 32-13 by the Cleveland Browns on national television.
The Ravens are far from a perfect team, but they haven’t had a loss like that this season. Instead, their losses have come in last-second embarrassing fashion as opposed to blowout fashion.
As Graziano noted, the Ravens addressed a core need at the deadline and the Bengals didn’t. Sure, it would have been nice to add a wide receiver or even a running back, but the Ravens traded for one of the best young linebackers in the NFL.
They’re a better team than they were a week ago. The Bengals, on the other hand, are a worse team. For those reasons, it’s hard not to see the Ravens as one of the biggest winners of the trade deadline.