The Baltimore Ravens had a lot of questions at wide receiver this season after they traded Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers, but the double whammy of losing Dennis Pitta for the season and Ed Dickson for a significant amount of time spells trouble. Reliable targets are what Joe Flacco needs, and there is nothing on the market that fills that need. However, the running back position is not a weakness. The depth that includes Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce, Bobby Rainey and Anthony Allen is one of the NFL’s strongest. And that’s why it’s not a crazy proposition for the Ravens to trade Bernard Pierce to help them get through this rough patch.
It will have to be the right price, but do the Ravens really need two featured backs? The advantage is only if Ray Rice goes down with an injury, but Rice isn’t an injury prone back. Bobby Rainey and Anthony Allen behind Rice are a strong set of backups in their own right, and Pierce is not needed in the long-term, because this team made a substantial investment in Joe Flacco. You pay Flacco that type of money, because you expect him to be a big part of your future. However, how can he be a big part of your future, if you don’t put playmakers around him?
It’s not that the Ravens haven’t tried, but they need a veteran receiver. Something they lost with Anquan Boldin, and they need to make it up somehow. But who would they trade for?
That opens up a lot of possibilities. The top of the list for me is Reggie Wayne. That’s right, Reggie Wayne. The Indianapolis Colts may not want to part with him, but the Ravens don’t want to part with Bernard Pierce either. Wayne would give a veteran presence on offense, and become Joe Flacco’s favorite target, while Pierce would become the Colts long-term featured back. The Colts would need to furnish a 1st rounder or a 2nd rounder with a conditional pick that could turn into a 2nd rounder by how well the Colts perform with Pierce in the lineup. This deal would probably never happen, but each team has a clear weakness for the future.
Players have to emerge on the Ravens, and if they don’t, then a deal needs to be done. Even Miles Austin for Bernard Pierce and some draft picks would be a good deal for the Ravens. Fortunately the Ravens haven’t hit the point where they have to break the glass, but they’re close. If Flacco struggles to get a consistent passing game, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Pierce going to another team for a wide receiver. Otherwise, the Ravens will just have to take the pain, and hope it’s worth it to not take advantage of a great player in his prime to build for the future.
James Cobern is a Division Leader for TPF and can be contacted at JCobern@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com or follow him on Twitter @Jmcobern1