Ravens Mail: Trade for Vincent Jackson?

It's time to click open our weekly Baltimore Ravens' Twitter mailbag:

@jamisonhensley: The Ravens have been willing to trade for wide receivers in the past. They did so in 2010 with Anquan Boldin, and in 2011 with Lee Evans. So, you can't rule it out. It also could be the only way to get Jackson from Tampa Bay. I mentioned earlier in the week that Jackson could become a salary-cap cut, but the consensus is the Buccaneers aren't going to release him. It was last November when the Buccaneers reportedly turned down a trade offer from the Eagles for Jackson. Tampa Bay probably isn't going to part ways with Jackson only a few months after declining a deal that would have given the Buccaneers something in return. Would Tampa Bay be interested in letting go of Jackson now? The Buccaneers might be inclined to do so considering Mike Evans is going to become the No. 1 wide receiver. The biggest problem for the Ravens is Jackson's salary. He is making $9.7 million in base salary in 2015 and 2016. The Ravens don't have the salary-cap room to take that contract right now.

@jamisonhensley: The Ravens might need a tight end depending on Dennis Pitta's health and Owen Daniels' desire to re-sign. Jordan Cameron is one of the top two unrestricted free-agent tight ends (along with Danver's Julius Thomas). But signing Cameron would not fit the Ravens' track record, and might not be financially realistic for the Ravens. When it comes to free agency, the Ravens typically sign players who have been cut rather than UFAs, because they don't count against compensatory picks. Even if the Ravens wanted Cameron, they don't have the salary-cap room to pursue him unless they make some roster moves to create space (it would have to start with cutting defensive tackle Haloti Ngata). Cameron would be a great addition for Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense, because he is athletic and can stretch the field. The concern with Cameron is his health (three concussions in three seasons) and a down season in 2014 (24 catches for 424 yards). The Ravens are going to have to sign a tight end this offseason, but I don't believe it's going to be Cameron.

@jamisonhensley: All of the above. That's going to be a major challenge considering the Ravens are probably going to have to make cuts to get under the salary cap (depending on what cap limit the NFL announces). The Ravens need to address wide receiver and running back in free agency. They will have to re-sign Justin Forsett and Torrey Smith or find replacements for them. But what proved to be the Ravens' downfall in New England was their secondary. Adding depth at cornerback and finding a starting strong safety have to be priorities as well.

@jamisonhensley: Marlon Brown struggled in training camp, and he never got on track. Whether it was his problems catching the ball in the summer or a lack of confidence, the Ravens didn't give Brown the same opportunities from the previous season. Brown played 400 fewer snaps in 2014. His biggest impact in 2013 came in the red zone, where he caught seven touchdown passes (tied for ninth-most in the NFL). A season later, Brown didn't have one pass thrown his way when the Ravens were inside the 20-yard line. I don't feel Brown is the answer for the Ravens at the No. 3 receiver spot. I do believe he can be a weapon in the red zone if the Ravens use him again.

@jamisonhensley: My guess is this question will be asked close to one million times before the Ravens are on the clock on April 30. Honestly, the Ravens couldn't tell you who is going to be their first-round pick. There are 25 teams picking ahead of the Ravens in the first round, so the hope is one of the Ravens' top 15 prospects slides to them. The Ravens have so many needs that they can go in a lot of directions. I would only be surprised if the Ravens took a quarterback, offensive lineman, outside linebacker, or kicker in the first round. All the other positions are definitely in play.

@jamisonhensley: The Ravens are never big spenders in free agency, but they could use a couple of big-name free agents this year. The problem is, the Ravens don't have the cap room to go after wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (who is expected to get the franchise tag anyway), running back DeMarco Murray, tight end Julius Thomas, safety Devin McCourty, or cornerback Byron Maxwell. If the Ravens add a free agent, history says it will be someone who is a cap casualty (they don't count against compensatory picks). So, you might want to monitor the status of wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Dwyane Bowe, tight end Vernon Davis, cornerback Cary Williams, and safety Tyvon Branch. The Ravens don't have the cap space to fill every need, but they have to upgrade the roster this offseason.

@jamisonhensley: Here are some rule changes or modifications that likely will get addressed at the owners meetings in March: the "Calvin Johnson Rule" (the process of the catch issue that impacted the Packers-Cowboys playoff game); Bill Belichick's proposal that coaches can challenge any type of play they want; and the mechanics of how officials let teams know about ineligible receivers.

@jamisonhensley: The Ravens are financially committed to Pitta even if he can't play in 2015. Pitta's $4 million salary is guaranteed unless he chooses to retire, so the Ravens will keep him around whether it's on the physically unable to perform list or injured reserve, and can make a decision on him in 2016. Pitta suffered a severe hip injury for the second straight year. Ravens coach John Harbaugh declined to give any updates on Pitta last month after the tight end saw a couple of specialists.

@jamisonhensley: Nothing is officially scheduled yet, but the team will likely hold the "State of the Ravens" news conference in the final week of February.


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