Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Apr 2011

Ravens Owner Not Happy With Bears

On Thursday, the Baltimore Ravens thought they had acquired a 2011 fourth-round draft choice from the Chicago Bears after agreeing to move back a few spots in round one. Baltimore's allotted time to make or trade the pick expired, after the Bears failed to confirm the trade with the league office. That period of uncertainty allowed the Kansas City Chiefs to step in and make their pick ahead of the Ravens.

Baltimore chose Colorado cornerback Jimmy Smith, and the Bears got their guy in Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi.

Bears general manager Jerry Angelo pinned the mistake on two staffers, and apologized to the Ravens for the mix-up. ESPN reported that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell "encouraged" the Bears to compensate the Ravens with the fourth-round selection, but the Bears declined to do so, instead trading it to Washington Redskins to move up in round two to take Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea.

Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti contacted The Baltimore Sun to express his displeasure with his Chicago counterparts.

"I’m disappointed in the Bears and the McCaskey's," Bisciotti said of the Bears' owners. "It is in my opinion a deviation from their great legacy. They concluded that their heartfelt and admirable apology was sufficient for our loss. All of us at the Ravens strongly disagree...probably end of story."

Posted by: Brian McIntyre on 30 Apr 2011

23 comments, Last at 06 May 2011, 1:00am by Bobman


by Mr Shush :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 9:42am

Um, didn't the Ravens do exactly the same thing to the Vikings back in 2003? Glass houses . . .

by dcaslin :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 10:38am

According to (potentially biased) sources, this isn't exactly the same thing. With the Vikings, the Vikings brought up the trade with the Ravens, and the Ravens, in good faith, were unable to get through to the NFL phone-line to finalize the trade. It makes sense that the Ravens should have needed more time to mull over the decision since it wasn't their idea, and, unless they were blatantly lying, they really did try to complete the trade.

In this case, the Bears brought up the trade to the Ravens, then hemmed and hawed on completing it. According to the Ravens, they even said "we finalized it" over and over again, with the Ravens saying "no, you didn't". This implies either the Bears were straight up lying or just had no idea what their junior people were doing but wouldn't admit it. Maybe I'm off base, but I was surprised that Goodell encouraged the Bears to give the Ravens a pick, I was sure they would say "Play nice, kids" and leave it at that. That tells me that the Bears did something pretty dumb/shady.

There is a rumor that the Bears offer was better than another team's that the Ravens wanted to trade with, and this cost them that trade. On the other side of the issue, the Ravens say that Ozzie knew Jimmy Smith wasn't going to the Chiefs, so he basically let the pick lapse in hopes of getting the trade through anyway. So basically my take away is that the Bears are jerks, but the Ravens weren't terribly victimized or anything, they just *might* have lost some extra spoils they were hoping to gain.

It seems to me that in this day and age there must be a better way for handling the administrative side of trades to eliminate a lot of this human error though... I'm pretty sure you could even make some sort of a solution with bright paper cards that would work better than what they have today.

It also seems like everyone of these stories ends up with the victim team getting the better player, anyway, so I'm hopeful that will continue and Jimmy Smith will be awesome.

by dcaslin :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 10:40am

Also, this is so much more fun to discuss than the lockout... I hope we have more trade fiascos today!

by El Miriodor :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 10:12am

Yes, the Ravens did exactly this same thing, and if I recall correctly, Mike Tice was the coach with egg on his face at the time. Coincidence that he now works for Chicago? I don't think so.

by psuasskicker :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 12:00pm

No, the Ravens didn't do the same thing. They wanted to move up with Minnesota to take Leftwich. They worked out a deal, but the Jags also called the Vikings, and wound up "in negotiations" with them to be able to move up to that pick to take Leftwich instead of the Ravens. Meanwhile, they never had intention of actually trading, they simply wanted to stall to force the Vikes to miss the pick so they could get Leftwich without trading.

Ozzie actually told whoever he was on the phone with, "Guys, the clock's going to run out." The Vikes fell for it, missed the pick, the Jags got who they wanted and Minnesota missed out on picks.

by El Miriodor :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 12:54pm

False. Vikings had a deal worked out with the Ravens, and the Ravens "couldn't get through to the league filing hotline for trades". The Ravens claimed that they got a busy signal on the phone. The Bears told two staff members to call in the trade and they both conveniently thought the other one had done it. It's not exactly the same thing, but in both cases teams had "confirmed" a trade, but one team "hadn't been able to contact the league to finalize it". In both cases, the onus is on the team that was making the pick to watch out for these shenanigans, and confirm with the league with enough time to finalize the trade. I just find it poetic justice that the Ravens are now crying foul.

by TimTheEnchanter (not verified) :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 7:43pm

The difference is that the Bears were on the phone with the Ravens repeatedly telling Newsome that they had done the deal and called Joel Bussert with the NFL. This was flat out not true. The Ravens kept telling the Bears that Bussert had not heard from them but they never followed through and made the deal official. ( http://www.baltimoreravens.com/News/Articles/2011/04/Byrne_Identity_-_De... )

In the Minnesota deal, because the Vikings went so long trying to play the Ravens and Jags against each other, when the agreement was struck the Ravens had very little time and were never able to get through to the NFL trade desk so they could not and did not ever tell Minnesota that the deal had been made official.

The big difference is that the deal was done with plenty of time to spare and the Bears repeatedly said they had done what they needed to do, despite being told that the NFL had not heard from them. Basically they lied.

The problem with letting the Bears get away with this is that it sets a precedent that teams can pull this type of shenanigans if they want to try to get another team to forgo other trade offers thinking they have a better deal and they will suffer no consequences for it.

by tuluse :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 7:55pm

A lie implies an intentional deceit. The Bears were incompetent, not intentionally trying to screw the Ravens.

by El Miriodor :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 9:10pm

Again, the Ravens conveniently said the line to the NFL Central Authority was dead in the Vikings trade, which A) Should not be possible and B) They could have let the Vikings know. Either way, shame on the Vikings on that one. But it works both ways. You should expect that other teams want to screw you.

I don't think anyone knows exactly how things work at the NFL Trade Approval department, but if the NFL does not approve your trade and confirm verbally, it's your responsibility to make the pick. You can't cry about it, you had 8 freaking minutes to confirm with the NFL that the trade was in.

What apparently went on with the Bears was Angelo confirmed with the Ravens over the phone repeatedly, while telling his staffers to call it in. Both staffers thought the other staffer had done it. Angelo, thinking that the staffers had done the deal with the Central Trade Authority at the NFL, keeps confirming to the Ravens that the deal is done. That's on the Ravens, if they don't confirm with the NFL, why don't they make the pick? That's their own fault.

It's quite a handy explanation by the Bears, and I think it's naive at best to think that it wasn't planned. If I had my guess, Tice is still pissed about what happened in '03 and this was a sure way to send a message, and the alibi of incompetence/miscommunication is just way to convenient for me to buy.

by Marko :: Sun, 05/01/2011 - 12:09am

It's pretty naive to think that Tice had anything to do with this. He is the Bears' offensive line coach, not the GM or even the head coach. He doesn't have that kind of pull regarding the draft and certainly isn't involved in trade negotiations with other teams.

The Bears' explanation makes perfect sense. It was incompetence, not intentional wrongdoing. Why would the Bears' do this intentionally, knowing that it would reflect poorly on them and potentially cause teams to be leery of making draft day trades with them in the future?

by tuluse :: Sun, 05/01/2011 - 5:26am

The net result of this fiasco was that the Ravens still got the guy they wanted and the Bears look like idiots.

Brilliant revenge!

by El Miriodor :: Sun, 05/01/2011 - 1:27pm

Ravens still look incompetent with their fans for not verifying the trade. Can't prove that the Bears did it on purpose, and it's hardly likely they'd admit to it if they did, since that would cause disciplinary action.

by Scott P. (not verified) :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 10:57am

Did the Ravens miss on a player they wanted? Were they going to take Baldwin? If not, no harm, no foul, as I see it.

by Alvin (not verified) :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 12:44pm

The NFL, like any other multi billion dollar industry, is a dirty game. Whenever rules allow for someone to slither by without having to do something that's against their best interest money-wise, they're going to do it. I don't know anyone in the Raven's front office, but if the shoes was on the other foot, I'd think that they would very likely do the same thing.

by BigCheese :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 2:24pm

It is insane to think that the Bears should give the Ravens their pick, SPECIALLY since the Ravens got their target anyway (and one pick later to boot for negotiating purposes).

That and it's poetic justice for the Leftwich fiasco. NFC North looking out for each other! :P

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by MJK :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 4:09pm

Ah, trade screwups.

I bet the NFL can't bear this happening. Hopefully they will make sure this happens nevermore.

by Bobman :: Fri, 05/06/2011 - 1:00am


Do you think Goodell won't like it happ'ning,

Until he hears Ray Lewis rapping, rapping

at his chamber door?

Says Ray-Ray as he puts his arm around old Rog,


On the plus side, we'd get a new commissioner out of that deal.

by tuluse :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 5:38pm

This seems like a non-issue to me. The Bears screwed up, which I'm pretty sure was an accident, not intentional. Then got lucky and drafted the player they wanted anyways. The Ravens got the guy they wanted.

Sorry guys, but shit happens.

by Jerry :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 6:07pm

I suspect something like this happened decades ago in the NBA, and that's why they no longer allow teams to trade their picks on draft day (which is why basketball teams draft for each other and then trade).

by Marko :: Sat, 04/30/2011 - 11:59pm

Actually, this is the reason why teams in the NBA draft for each other and then trade: http://www.forumblueandgold.com/2007/09/11/ted-stepien-and-the-james-wor...

by Jerry :: Sun, 05/01/2011 - 2:24pm

The Stepien rule solves a different problem. His Cavaliers had traded a bunch of future first-round picks for mediocre veterans, and were a bad team looking at a long stretch of not being able to improve through the draft. Part of the deal the Gund brothers made to buy the team was the ability to buy some first-round picks from the NBA, and the league was anxious enough to get rid of Stepien that they agreed.

The rule in question here meant that when Cleveland traded Roy Hinson to the 76ers for the #1 overall pick in 1986, they had to complete the deal by midnight of the day before the draft.

by Marko :: Sun, 05/01/2011 - 5:09pm

Yes, I know full well the problem that the Ted Stepien Rule solves. I remember when he made a number of stupid trades of first round picks for marginal players.

The point I was referring to was the observation that "basketball teams draft for each other and then trade." My understanding is that they do that because if they trade a player after drafting him, they don't risk being hamstrung by the Ted Stepien Rule in the next season. If a team made a trade before the draft that involved their first round pick, then they wouldn't be able to trade the next year's first round pick. So they would have less flexibility the next season before the trade deadline. To avoid this problem, teams who want to trade before the draft just make the agreement before the draft, draft players for the other team and then complete the trade after the draft.

by Marko :: Sun, 05/01/2011 - 5:10pm

Deleted double post.