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Baltimore Ravens: What David Reed Trade Means for WR Competition

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Baltimore Ravens made a surprise move on Wednesday afternoon, trading fourth-year wide receiver David Reed to the Indianapolis Colts for third-year running back Delone Carter.

The trade comes as the Ravens' final roster decisions at wide receiver are looming, and the trade signals that Reed likely wouldn't have made the final 53-man roster, so the team at least received another player as compensation.

Trading Reed for Carter neither helps nor hurts the Ravens or Colts, and it is about as insignificant of a player-for-player signing that two teams can make, especially since neither player is guaranteed to make the final roster of his new team.

Moving Reed clears up the picture at wide receiver a little more for the Ravens, while also adding more of a logjam at running back.

There's one open roster spot at running back, assuming the team follows its traditional route of carrying three ball carriers.

Carter gets thrown into the mix of Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey and Damien Berry. Allen is the most valuable of the incumbents, and the battle for the third and final running back spot will likely come down to him and Carter, who gained 122 yards on 32 attempts last season.

If the Ravens are looking to go for the better runner, Carter has the advantage, however Allen's special teams ability could ultimately earn him the roster spot.

As for wide receiver, Reed's departure opens the door for players such as Aaron Mellette, Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams and Marlon Brown, who are all vying for one of the final roster spots at the position.

Right now, the only two locks are Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones, with Deonte Thompson and Brandon Stokley being assumed roster members. That leaves two open spots, as the Ravens typically carry six wide receivers on the active roster.

Mellette's presence in the preseason as well as his potential makes it all but certain that he'll make the team, leaving one final roster spot.

Doss and Williams have an edge over Brown, whose name only remains in the conversation due to his potential.

Neither Doss nor Williams provide much value at wide receiver, and both are fairly equal as special teams contributors.

The edge in this situation would likely go to Doss - who may have the worst pair of hands of the wide receivers - because of his experience in the offense and his route-running capability, something Williams still hasn't developed.

The possibility of either signing or trading for another wide receiver can't be ruled out as well, but at the very least, the trading of Reed at least partially opens up a crowded wide receiver position in Baltimore.

Kyle Casey is a sports writer living in Baltimore, Md. He contributes to various football sites and is the editor of Cat Crave.

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