NFL Trade Rumors: Baltimore Ravens Must Make a Hakeem Nicks Trade a Priority

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIOctober 14, 2013

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 06:  Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants runs after a catch as  Nate Allen #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles defends in the first quarter during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 6, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Six games into the regular season and the defending-champion Baltimore Ravens are off to a sluggish 3-3 start.

The good news? The team is still tied for second place in the AFC North and only trails the division-leading Cincinnati Bengals by one game.

While the defense hasn't been sensational statistically (they rank 20th in points against per game and 16th in yards allowed per game), the team hasn't allowed more than 23 points since Week 1.

Where Baltimore has really struggled is on offense.

The team is 22nd in yards per game, 24th in first downs per game, and 26th in turnover differential.

Furthermore, much of Baltimore's offense is predicated on the big play. If a receiver doesn't find a way to break open down field, Joe Flacco and the Ravens' offense have a tough time moving the ball.

The lackluster run game and lack of protection from the offensive line haven't helped, but Baltimore's inexperience and lack of depth at wide receiver has also hurt this offense.

The Ravens need a legitimate threat at wide receiver other than just Torrey Smith.
The Ravens need a legitimate threat at wide receiver other than just Torrey Smith.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Torrey Smith has emerged as a viable option, going for at least 85 yards in every game this season other than Sunday's contest against the Green Bay Packers.

Outside of Smith, the Ravens' leading receiver is tight end Dallas Clark with just 256 yards in five games played (that averages out to just over 50 yards per game).

Marlon Brown and Tandon Doss have both shown promise, but neither of them are good enough to play on a contending team right now.

Jacoby Jones' return is sure to provide a boost to Baltimore's offense, but even Jones isn't the most experienced wideout and would be a much better third receiver for this club.

The Ravens need an upgrade at wide receiver. Not only to remain as a contender, but also to provide insurance in case of future injuries.

Enter Hakeem Nicks.

With the New York Giants off to an 0-6 start, Jason La Canfora reports that the Giants may be willing to listen to offers for the 25-year-old wide receiver.

He also lists the Ravens as a team that could have some interest if he becomes available, seeing as they need help at the position.

With an affordable contract and still being a fairly young player, Nicks would be an ideal candidate to target for GM Ozzie Newsome.

Nicks is no stranger to success either. At 25, he already has two 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. Furthermore, while he struggled in 2012, going for under 700 yards and only three touchdowns, he seems to be back on track this year.

Nicks already has 442 yards through six games (that extrapolates to over 1,150 yards over 16 games) in 2013 on a very weak offense.

The concern with Nicks' game is the fact that he hasn't caught a touchdown in 2013.

Yet Nicks would still provide the Ravens with that second legitimate threat through the air that they've been lacking since the departure of Anquan Boldin in the offseason.

If Baltimore wants to make another deep postseason run in 2013, they'll need to upgrade at the wide receiver position. The acquisition of Hakeem Nicks would do just that.