Baltimore Ravens: Why the Team Should Trade for Asante Samuel

Kyle CaseyCorrespondent IIIMarch 25, 2012

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 21:  Asante Samuel #22 of the Philadelphia Eagles celebrates after an interception in the second quarter against the New York Giants at Lincoln Financial Field on November 21, 2010 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

On Sunday morning, it was reported by Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the Philadelphia Eagles are actively shopping cornerback Asante Samuel.

The Eagles are already set at cornerback with Nnamdi Asomugha and Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie slated to be the starters in 2012. That leaves Samuel as the team's third cornerback.

However, Samuel is set to make $9.5 million in 2012, which is way too much money to pay a cornerback who isn't even on the field for the majority of defensive plays.

The Eagles are likely looking for draft picks as compensation for Samuel, which makes any NFL team a contender to acquire the 31-year-old cornerback.

But one team that may aggressively pursue Samuel is the Baltimore Ravens.

It is apparent that restricted free agent Lardarius Webb will sign a long-term deal with the Ravens sometime this offseason, and when re-signed, he will be the team's No.1 corner.

After Webb, the top cornerback currently on the team is Cary Williams.

Williams is a lengthy, physical corner, but the jury is still out on whether he's ready to be a starting cornerback in the NFL.

Rather, for now, he's much better suited playing in the slot, as he can use his size to go up against the opposing team's tight ends.

That means the Ravens will need to find another starting cornerback to play opposite Webb, which is where Samuel could come in the mix.

Sure, Samuel's $9.5 million salary in 2012 would be devastating to Baltimore's already-tight cap situation. But if long-term deals can be reached with quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Ray Rice and the previously mentioned Webb, enough cap space could be made available.

That leaves just the trade situation, which shouldn't be a problem for the Ravens. The Eagles will likely command multiple mid-round picks for Samuel, much like what the Miami Dolphins asked for from the Chicago Bears for Brandon Marshall (two third-round picks).

The Ravens would likely have to give up either a third- or fifth-round pick in 2012 (the team doesn't have a fourth-round pick, as it was sent to Buffalo for Lee Evans) and another mid-round pick in the 2013 draft.

Due to the team's cap situation and need for draft picks this year, the Ravens are certainly not the front-runners to land Asante Samuel.

But it would be worthwhile for the team to give the Eagles a call and at least discuss the possibility of trading for the veteran cornerback, as a one-two duo of Webb and Samuel would help the Ravens get over the hump and win the AFC in 2012.