If the Baltimore Ravens defense wasn’t already scary enough, it just got even better.
ESPN reports that the No. 1 scoring defense in football just traded for Vikings defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. The Vikings are acquiring a 2021 third-round pick and a 2022 conditional fifth-round pick.
Ngakoue was just traded to Minnesota two weeks before the 2020 season after requesting a trade from Jacksonville. The Vikings’ return package is similar to the one they traded to Jacksonville.
It’s not like his time in Minnesota wasn’t productive. Ngakoue provided five sacks in six games despite not having a training camp. Before Sunday’s game against the Falcons, he had sacks in four consecutive weeks.
The fit in Baltimore seems more tailor-made for Ngakoue. He played his college football at Maryland and he’s from Washington D.C. He has an opportunity to play close to family and friends, plus for a legit Super Bowl contender.
And that’s not all of the good news. Ngakoue’s one Pro Bowl season came in 2017 with the Jaguars. His teammate on that defensive line was fellow Pro Bowler Calais Campbell, who is now wreaking havoc (four sacks) in Baltimore. They were teammates for three seasons in Jacksonville.
The Ravens have used three trades on defense to give their team a legit shot at a Super Bowl. Campbell, Ngakoue and defensive back Marcus Peters are all Pro Bowl players, and Baltimore didn’t sell the house to get them.
The AFC runs through Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. To beat the Chiefs, you have to create a strong pass rush and have a capable secondary.
The Ravens now have two Pro Bowl cornerbacks and two Pro Bowl pass rushers. The Chiefs threw for 385 yards in their 34-20 Monday night win against the Ravens earlier this season, but Baltimore didn’t have a sack. Ngakoue’s addition could make a difference if they meet again in January.
It’s been a while since Antonio Brown has been in the mainstream headlines, and that is good news. Run-ins with the law and his conduct with the Raiders halted one of the best statistical careers of the past decade, but Brown could be returning soon.
NFL teams could be lining up to sign the seven-time Pro Bowl receiver with his NFL suspension nearing its end.
Brown was suspended eight games for multiple violations of the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
While it may feel like forever ago, Brown was just a Pro Bowler in 2018 with Pittsburgh. He was traded to the Raiders before the 2019 season and then released. The Patriots picked him up but cut their ties after allegations of sexual assault emerged against Brown.
Teams may take Brown’s quietness on social media lately as a sign of growth. His talent alone will lead to opportunities and several teams could be knocking. The Seahawks are rumored to be interested, but teams like the Packers, Saints, Bills, Bears and 49ers seem like suitable fits.
Dez Bryant last caught a pass in an NFL game in 2017. The Cowboys released the three-time Pro Bowler and he signed with the New Orleans Saints. An Achilles injury in practice ended Bryant’s time in New Orleans.
Now, it looks like he’ll finally get another opportunity. NFL Network reported that Bryant could be signing with the Ravens soon.
Missing two entire seasons and coming back from the dreaded Achilles injury is a lot to ask of any player. Bryant may not be the same guy who outmuscled defensive backs for jump balls like a basketball player, but you will probably see the flashes.
The Ravens haven’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2016. Marquise Brown is currently on pace to finish close to 1,000 yards, and adding a receiver who has topped the milestone three times should only help.