Trade for Baltimore: I mentioned Haloti Ngata’s name in my Ravens’ off-season preview as someone who could be a cap casualty. This was something that had been mentioned by multiple sources and it was understandable as the cap strapped Ravens could free up 8.5 million in cash and cap space by releasing Ngata ahead of his age 31 season. However, I also said that a better solution would be to give him an extension that immediately lowers his contract number and keeps him under contract for 2016 and beyond, as they did with Terrell Suggs last off-season, as Ngata still has good football left in him. The Ravens went with a different approach, letting him go and saving the cap space, but doing so by trade, so at least they got a 4th and 5th round pick out of him. I don’t think that was the right move, but it’s not a horrible decision.
Trade for Detroit: Detroit I think comes out the winners here. Ngata isn’t as good or as young as Ndamukong Suh, but paying him 8.5 million in 2015 seems better than paying Suh the 19 million annually that he received from Miami. Ngata graded out as Pro Football Focus’ 9th ranked 3-4 defensive end in 2014 and he’s graded out as a top-18 player at his position in every season since Pro Football Focus’ inception in 2007. He’s played in both 3-man and 4-man fronts in his career and will fit in well in Detroit. His age is a concern, as he goes into his age 31 season, but they won’t owe him anything beyond 2015 and he’s not completely over the hill yet. Unlike the Ravens, the Lions don’t have big cap problems and don’t need to extend him long-term to drive down his cap number if they don’t want to. The price they paid for him, outside of a reasonable salary, was two relatively meaningless picks.