Of the Packers' many shortcomings in their 36-16 season-opening loss to the Seahawks, the inability of their inside linebackers to get to the ball and cover the tight end stood out more than most. A.J. Hawk regularly found himself trapped behind a blocking receiver while Brad Jones committed multiple penalties and missed as many or more tackles. While the Seahawks can make even All-Pros look feeble, the Packers' struggles at inside linebacker appeared well before they arrived at CenturyLink Field; It was an area of weakness throughout the 2013 season. The Seattle game was just the latest manifestation.
Which is why this report from ESPN's Adam Caplan set off alarms bells around these parts:
#Ravens ILB Arthur Brown has been the subject of trade discussions with other teams, according to league sources.— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) September 9, 2014
The Ravens selected Arthur Brown in second-round of the 2013 NFL Draft with the hopes that he could replace retired inside linebacker Ray Lewis. While Brown flashed at times during his rookie year, he never earned the trust of his coaching staff and failed to win a starting job. Perhaps as a result, GM Ozzie Newsome spent his first-round pick this year on Alabama inside linebacker C.J. Mosley.
Baltimore's belief in Brown may have bottomed out. In addition to entertaining trade discussion for the former Kansas State Wildcat, the Ravens didn't play him a single snap during their Week 1 loss to AFC North rival Cincinnati. It's a sign to teams like the Packers that Baltimore might be serious about salvaging whatever it can for Brown via trade.
But just how much would Ted Thompson pay for a linebacker who in less than two seasons is already on the trading block?
The last time Thompson traded for a player more or less during the season was his 2007 deal for Giants running back Ryan Grant. The move cost the Packers a future sixth-round pick, which provides some sort of baseline for a hypothetical deal for Brown.
However, Grant was buried at the bottom of the Giants depth chart. Despite not playing in the Ravens' first game, Brown would likely replace Mosley or Daryl Smith should injuries strike. Accordingly, Ozzie Newsome might require more than a future sixth rounder to send Brown packing. If such is the case, it's difficult to see Green Bay retaining interest, assuming they have any to begin with.
While it's unlikely the Packers pull the trigger on a deal, the situation bears monitoring as long as Brown is on the table.