Browns Likely Inquired About Trading For Yannick Ngakoue, Could Still Target Jaguars Pass Rusher, Per Report

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The Ravens have made several attempts to upgrade their pass-rushing corps this offseason. In addition to a creative sign-and-trade attempt to land Jadeveon Clowney, which was nixed by the league, Baltimore also tried to trade for former Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.

© Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports Yannick Ngakoue would end up going to the Vikings.

La Canfora says the Ravens and Jags were “deep in talks” and had agreed that Baltimore would send a second-round pick to Jacksonville in exchange for Ngakoue, but the Ravens’ salary-cap situation ultimately prevented a deal from being completed. At the time of the trade discussions, the Ravens had roughly $6M in cap space, and while the team did create some (perhaps temporary) room when it released Earl Thomas, Baltimore apparently was not comfortable depleting all of its reserves.

Ultimately, Ngakoue was sent to the Vikings and agreed to reduce his 2020 salary from around $18M to $12M in order to facilitate the trade. The Maryland product likely would have been willing to make a similar concession to make a Ravens trade work, but even a $12M salary would have forced Baltimore to create cap space elsewhere via restructure or extension.

The team did just create $3M in cap space several days ago by reworking Brandon Williams‘ contract, and look for the Ravens to continue their pursuit of a pass-rusher. Baltimore is said to be monitoring Ziggy Ansah, and perhaps a deal will come together after Week 1. Failing that, general manager Eric DeCosta could swing a trade in advance of this year’s deadline, just as he did last year in acquiring CB Marcus Peters from the Rams.

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Related slideshow: Predicting the division and award winners for the 2020 NFL season (Provided by Yardbarker)

Full screen 1/24 SLIDES © Scott Taetsch/Getty Images Predicting the division and award winners for the 2020 NFL season The NFL has thus far navigated the COVID-19 pandemic and is less than a week away from Week 1. With that in mind, here are some obviously spot-on predictions for how the league's 101st season will unfold. 2/24 SLIDES © Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports AFC East: Bills stroll to first division title in 25 years The centerpieces of the Bills' homegrown nucleus were not alive when the franchise last won a division championship. That happened in 1995, Jim Kelly's penultimate season. But the Josh Allen-, Tre'Davious White- and Tremaine Edmunds-led core will give Buffalo a postseason home game -- assuming the playoffs are not in a bubble. Top to bottom, the Bills' roster outflanks the Patriots'. Buffalo sports an intriguing, retooled defensive line rotation, and Stefon Diggs is a top-three NFL route runner. 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Slideshow continues on the next slide 5/24 SLIDES © Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports AFC West: it would truly take a miracle A better Chiefs team than the Super Bowl LIV champions exudes both continuity and elite talent. Its three AFC West rivals all look to have improved from 2019 as well, but while the Chiefs may have gone from an A to an A-plus, the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders are well off that level. The Broncos' young quarterback-new OC-rookie receivers-shaky tackles setup will hold them back, and the Bolts have saddled a strong roster with either a journeyman QB (Tyrod Taylor) or a raw rookie (Justin Herbert). The Raiders have the division's highest non-Chiefs floor. It is quite a journey between these floors. 6/24 SLIDES © Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports NFC East: Cowboys' talent will break through The defending division champs are already down four starters -- O-linemen Brandon Brooks and Andre Dillard and wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor. Despite losing All-Pro Travis Frederick and Pro Bowler Byron Jones, the Cowboys are in a stronger position. They do have a new coaching staff -- a dicey prospect in 2020 -- but OC Kellen Moore's return and CeeDee Lamb's arrival give Dak Prescott luxurious amenities Carson Wentz lacks. Mike McCarthy will provide an upgrade on Jason Garrett and leave the Eagles to fend for a wild-card spot. Washington and the Giants do not factor into this discussion. 7/24 SLIDES © William Glasheen, Wm. Glasheen/USA TODAY NETWORK-W, Appleton Post-Crescent via Imagn Content Service... NFC North: division of closing windows Each team in this division may be near the end of its respective chapter, and this collection of closing contention windows oddly gives the NFC North a competitive feel. The Packers still employ the division's top quarterback, though Matthew Stafford was pushing for that title last year before his back injury, and have several well-paid defenders. The Kirk Cousins-era Vikings are 1-11 against 10-win teams and will have rookies in key roles in a bad year to do so. Green Bay's continuity, even following a panned offseason, could be enough as Aaron Rodgers begins an audition for a late-30s gig elsewhere. 8/24 SLIDES © Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports NFC South: football gods provide belated treat Shades of Joe Montana moving into John Elway's division 27 years ago, the NFL schedule contains two Tom Brady-Drew Brees matchups. This is a rare opportunity for fans to savor the all-time greats' work. Brees' team has fewer questions, featuring the longest-running QB-head coach tandem -- with he and Sean Payton replacing Brady and Bill Belichick -- and possessing few noticeable weaknesses. 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Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports But the Browns will capitalize on expanded field Counting on a 38-year-old head coach with barely one season of play-calling experience for adult-in-the-room status -- after a pandemic-redefined offseason -- is on-brand Browns. But Kevin Stefanski (with Gary Kubiak's help) just revived Minnesota's offense. He has more talent in Cleveland. The Browns' Jack Conklin signing and Jedrick Wills first-round pick could make a considerable difference in Baker Mayfield's career, which veered off course in Freddie Kitchens' disastrous season. It is OK to believe in the Browns this year. They will be the fringe contender that seizes the No. 7 seed in 2020's new playoff era. 12/24 SLIDES © Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports Beware the hype These Buccaneers will not flounder like the 2019 Browns, but Tampanians and non-Florida-based Tom Brady supporters will need patience. The Bucs only have six games against teams that finished with winning records last year, but thrusting a 43-year-old quarterback into a new system without much practice time may limit Bruce Arians' team early. Brady's descent from No. 6 to No. 17 in QBR from 2018-19 can be attributed to shaky Patriots weaponry. However, the Bucs are gambling with their big swing for Brady. The Saints will also make the Bucs' push to play all postseason games in Tampa -- the site of Super Bowl LV -- quite dicey. 13/24 SLIDES © Ken Ruinard / staff, The Greenville News via Imagn Content Services, LLC Washington set for seminal decision Despite the Jaguars' purported tank operation, the Washington Football Team ends up with the 2021 No. 1 overall pick. Washington's lack of weaponry outside of Terry McLaurin and issues up front beyond Brandon Scherff end up minimizing the impact of its defensive line success. 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