NFL.com columnist and NFL Network contributor Jeffri Chadiha believes that trading for a running back is not out of the question for the Ravens, as the search for a feature back is still ongoing.
In addition to his work with NFL.com and NFL Network, Chadiha co-hosts of podcasts “Red, White and True” and “Too Deep.” He worked for ESPN from 2007-2015 and Sports Illustrated from 2000-2007. He won a Sports Emmy in 2009.
This season has been filled with twists and turns for the Ravens’ backfield. After feature back J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards and Justice Hill all sustained season-ending injuries, the Ravens had to figure something out for the running game. In an attempt to fix the backfield, Baltimore signed veterans Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell.
Combined, the three veteran backs have made six Pro Bowl appearances, accumulated more than 15,000 rushing yards and scored 119 rushing touchdowns. Murray, 31, has been used the most so far this year, rushing 44 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns.
However, Chadiha believes it is “not out of the realm of possibility” that the Ravens upgrade the position via trade this season. The trade deadline is Nov. 2. The Ravens were active ahead of the trade deadline last year, adding defensive end Yannick Ngakoue from the Minnesota Vikings.
“I don’t think it’s insane. In fact, I think it’s pretty prudent to think about that,” Chadiha said on Glenn Clark Radio Oct. 5. “I was out there in training camp and talked to Calais Campbell and some of the other players … about where they were at as a team and trying to win a championship and the vibe I got walking away from that was this was Super Bowl or bust. So if you’re in that mode, you’re going to do whatever it takes to go out and get back to a level where you can be a champion.”
If the Ravens choose to pursue a running back before the trade deadline, there is a veteran who is on the trade block. According to Joel A. Erickson of the IndyStar, the Indianapolis Colts and Marlon Mack have agreed to seek a trade for the running back.
Mack, 25, was the lead back for the Colts in 2018 and 2019 before rupturing his Achilles tendon Week 1 of the 2020 season. Jonathan Taylor took over the starting role after Mack’s injury. Taylor rushed for 1,169 yards and 11 touchdowns last year.
Mack has posted very respectable numbers as a lead back. From 2018-2019, Mack played in 26 games, starting 22, and rushed for 1,999 yards and 17 touchdowns. Mack has since fallen to third on the Colts’ depth chart behind Taylor and Nyheim Hines, but Mack can be a viable option for the Ravens, assuming he is healthy.
Chadiha compared the Ravens’ situation to that of the Kansas City Chiefs, who recently signed reinstated wideout Josh Gordon even though they already have a star-studded offense with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce.
“They’re looking at it like, ‘We need an extra gear here if we want to be able to get past the Ravens and the Browns and the Bills,” Chadiha said,
Chadiha also believes that although Bell is not the best option for the Ravens, he can still produce. In his debut with the Ravens, Bell carried the ball four times for 11 yards against the Broncos. Bell, 29, was one of the best backs in football from 2013-2017.
“In Baltimore, if he can actually show some consistency and show a little more burst, yeah, he can be a player there,” Chadiha said. “He’s up there in age. It’s hard to get that back.”
Chadiha has been impressed with the Ravens so far this season. The team is finding ways to win even with all the injuries it has suffered, from running back to the offensive line (Ronnie Stanley and Tyre Phillips) to the defensive backfield (Marcus Peters) to linebacker (L.J. Fort).
“I’ve been really impressed on what they’ve been able to do — Marcus Peters being down as well,” Chadiha said. “To be 3-1 after the way they started with some injuries, it’s mind-blowing.”
For more from Chadiha, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Sabina Moran/PressBox