The life of an NFL GM can be difficult. Every decision scrutinized, every contract criticized and every trade placed under a microscope.
Sometimes, though, a deal is so clearly a win you can't help but marvel at it. Such is the case with Ravens GM Eric DeCosta trading a fifth-round pick for Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell.
If you go further into the deal, you'll remember the Ravens got that pick via the Minnesota Vikings, who parted ways with it in exchange for kicker Kaare Vedvik. So the Ravens essentially traded a kicker for Campbell — not a bad deal for Baltimore, all things considered.
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in Baltimore's first preseason game in 2019, Vedvik connected on 4-of-4 field-goal attempts, including a 55-yarder. He also converted two PATs and added two punts that averaged 55.5 yards. The Ravens, who were set at kicker with All-Pro Justin Tucker, traded Vedvick to the Vikings two days later for the fifth-rounder.
Vedvik went 5-for-8 in the 2019 preseason for Minnesota. The Vikings waived him three weeks later after he lost the job to Dan Bailey. The Jets signed him the next day, but he was waived again after he missed an extra point and 45-yard field goal in New York's Sept. 8 game against Buffalo — a 17-16 loss. He ended up joining the Bengals practice squad before signing a reserve/futures contract with Buffalo on Jan. 7.
Conversely, Campbell tallied 195 tackles, 31 sacks and six forced fumbles in three full regular seasons in Jacksonville. He led the team in sacks in his first two seasons and finished second in 2019, earning Pro Bowl honors each season. The Ravens reportedly restructured Campbell's deal to make it worth $27 million over two years, though it is still a significant cap hit for them. But if he can help improve their pass-rush (they ranked 21st in the NFL with 37 sacks in 2019) then it should be worth it.
(1/6) Like anything in life, they say great things only last for so long. My time in Jacksonville has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with love, support and pure joy from the Duval community. pic.twitter.com/jzfcSxZzSX
— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) March 15, 2020
The deal will relieve Jacksonville of $15 million in cap space, but if the Jags succeed in trading lineman Yannick Ngakoue (37.5 sacks over four seasons), then it stands to reason "Sacksonville" will look a lot different heading into the 2020 season.