A lot of fans of the Baltimore Ravens would say that Haloti Ngata is untradable. I say that pretty much anyone is tradable if it makes sense, and in the case of Ngata I think it makes a lot of sense.
Don’t get me wrong I love Ngata, but sometimes you have to be smart and get maximum value out of a guy before he goes belly up. Unfortunately I think that time is vastly approaching. Ngata has been banged up the last few years; typically the pattern has been that Ngata starts out great but wears down during the season. In their last two games the Ravens have given up over 100 yards rushing, including the 31st ranked rushing attack of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Granted, all the blame can’t be on Ngata, but when opposing running backs are running right up the gut where Ngata is generally stationed, then you have to start holding his feet to the fire a little.
Ngata is probably one of the best defensive linemen in the game when healthy. And that my friends is the keyword: “healthy”. My plan would be to let Ngata finish out the year and try trading him to the highest bidder. Next year’s salary cap will have the biggest chunk taken out by Ngata’s $16 million cap figure. Releasing him isn’t an option either as that would cost the Ravens $15 million in dead money. I’m sure quite a few times would pay up in hopes of another three or four good years out of Ngata. Any team on the cusp of taking that next step could conceivably give up a few higher draft picks for the big man in the middle.
As for the Ravens, rookie Brandon Williams could be the guy going forward. He’s still a little raw but has the potential to be one of the better defensive tackles in the league. If Williams isn’t the guy, then the Ravens could always address the position in the draft or a short term bargain bin solution, kind of like Daryl Smith who is making a case to be more then a one year stopgap. 2014 should be a really interesting offseason for the Ravens.
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