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What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

What the Marcus Peters trade means and how it shows the Ravens are making 2019 a priority

The Ravens have a problem in the secondary; no one can stay healthy. 

Baltimore suffered season-ending injuries to Iman Marshall and Tavon Young at cornerback and Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliott at safety. Cornerback Jimmy Smith hasn’t played since Week 1 with a Grade 2 MCL sprain and Maurice Canady currently has a hamstring injury, coach John Harbaugh said. 

So on Monday, the Ravens traded for cornerback Marcus Peters from the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for linebacker Kenny Young and an undisclosed 2020 draft pick. 

Peters, 26, is in his fifth year as a pro and is in the final year of his rookie deal that is paying him just over $9 million against the cap this season. 

A true ballhawk, Peters has an NFL-best 24 interceptions since he entered the league in 2015 as a first round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Peters was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2015 and was a Second Team All-Pro that season. He was a First Team All-Pro a year later. 

With a host of injuries at cornerback and in the secondary the Ravens will likely use Peters right away opposite Marlon Humphrey, who has been one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks this season. Peters excels at turning the ball over, something safety Earl Thomas did in Seattle and a statistic in which the Ravens coaches have expressed a desire to improve.

The Ravens rank 13th in yards allowed per game, 30th in yards per play against and 25th in pass defense. Peters figures to help out in those departments.

Smith is expected to return sooner rather than later in the secondary, meaning the Ravens will have to find a way to get Humphrey, Peters, Smith and Brandon Carr on the field in a positive way.

And while Peters’ contract is up at the end of the season, the final 10 games could be a tryout to see how he fits into the team’s short-term and long-term plans. Should he impress, it’s not inconceivable the Ravens could re-sign him and make he, Humphrey and Young the team’s top three cornerbacks headed into the 2020 season.

If they don’t, they’ll be awarded a compensatory pick in 2021. As for what round, that will depend on how much Peters signs for. 

Either way, the move is an aggressive one to shore up a notable area of concern for the Ravens this season. It adds a cornerback who has had incredible success in his young career and adds a piece in the secondary to pair opposite Humphrey. 

The price wasn’t hefty, either. The Ravens moved on from Kenny Young, a linebacker who had fallen out of their plans, and a 2020 draft pick, one of many they possess next year. 

It’s a true low-risk, high-reward situation for a team that still thinks it can contend this season.

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Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti makes $1 million donation to local social justice reform programs

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti makes $1 million donation to local social justice reform programs

The Baltimore Ravens, along with the Steve and Renee Bisciotti Foundation, announced on Monday a $1 million joint-donation will be going to 28 local charities promoting racial equality. 

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti pledged to make this donation a week after George Floyd was killed by a police officer in Minnesota. 

The Ravens formed a committee with five players -- Justin Tucker, Morgan Cox, Marlon Humphrey, Matthew Judon and Ronnie Stanley -- and former wide receiver Torrey Smith in order to decide which Baltimore-area organizations would receive funding. 

“When you talk about social justice, there are many different issues -- from education, to criminal justice reform, to health," Smith said through a Ravens release. "There are so many avenues the players could have chosen, so they really spread it out among a lot of different grassroots organizations. This is just the beginning of trying to figure out as many ways to collaborate with the people in the city who are doing great things to help change Baltimore for the better."

For Stanley, his status as a professional athlete in America's biggest sporting league makes him 

“I’m passionate about this, knowing the position I’m in and how blessed I am to be in a position to help people. I’m not going to forget about the people who are dealing with things that aren’t fair. We have an opportunity to help make the world a better place, and I want to take advantage of that," Stanley said in the Ravens statement.

“There are so many places in society that racism has affected. It really starts with people’s mentalities and how they’ve been raised and taught," continued Stanley. "The biggest thing for me is educating people about their own misconceptions and stereotypes, helping them understand the root behind these stereotypes and why the black community is where it is today. It has everything to do with American history.”

For a full list of the 28 organizations receiving money, click here

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Lamar Jackson is only focused on one thing after his MVP season: Winning a Super Bowl

Lamar Jackson is only focused on one thing after his MVP season: Winning a Super Bowl

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson deserved every single one of the votes he earned a year ago when he was unanimously voted the NFL's Most Valuable Player.

Jackson electrified in 2019, leading the NFL in passing touchdowns with 36 while shattering the sport's single-season QB rushing yards record with over 1,200 yards on the ground. He led Baltimore to a 14-2 record and the top seed in the AFC before the Ravens were upset by the Tennessee Titans in the divisional round of the playoffs.

On an individual level, there's not much Jackson can do in 2020 to top his personal success in 2019. Well, it's a good thing the QB is not focused on his individual accolades.

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews -- Jackson's top target from 2019 -- spoke to local media on Monday and said that Jackson's only goal for an encore to his MVP season is leading Baltimore to a Super Bowl.

"His biggest goal is to win a Super Bowl. That's his biggest thing," Andrews said. 

RELATED: OPTING-OUT NEVER REALLY CROSSED MARK ANDREWS' MIND

After Jackson's remarkable 2019 campaign, it would be easy for the success he's had to get in his head. But according to Andrews, it's been nothing like that at all for the rising third-year QB.

"There's no superstardom coming from Lamar. Lamar is Lamar, and that's something that we all love about him," Andrew said. "That's something we can kind of relate to, that his head is not too big and it will never get too big, because he's down to earth."

While the Super Bowl is a lofty goal, it's a realistic one for Jackson and the Ravens. But for now, in August, left tackle Ronnie Stanley thinks Jackson should just focus on getting a little better each day, and the rest will work itself out in the long run.

"Just not try to make these tremendous leaps. Everyone kind of tries to put that pressure on you," Stanley said on advice for Jackson following his MVP season. "Just go in every day just trying to get a little bit better. Just keep that focus that, ‘I’m going to get better at this today.’ And just focus on that; not thinking every day that you have to be the perfect person or perfect player, because I feel like guys can get too ahead of themselves."

Entering the 2020 season, Jackson and the Ravens' disappointing performance in the playoffs is what many remembers from their 2019 season. The 14-2 record and overall regular season success are overshadowed by the early playoff exit.

That loss has stuck with Jackson, too, and it's motivated him this entire offseason.

"He's the best player I've ever been around, and he works hard," Andrews said. "So I think you're going to see an even more polished and even more ready Lamar than you saw last year. That sounds almost unbelievable, but the guy is incredible and he's a winner."

And while the expectations for Baltimore in 2020 are as high as they come, Andrews knows Jackson won't change his demeanor to try and accomplish them.

"Lamar is Lamar, man. He's never going to change who he is," Andrews said.

Stay connected to the Ravens and Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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