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In a move that was more of a reflection of two players struggling to make their respective rosters, the Ravens traded fourth-year wide receiver David Reed to the Indianapolis Colts in exchange for running back Delone Carter on Wednesday.
Though a capable special-teams player with ability in the return game, Reed had failed to establish himself as any kind of a realistic option in the Baltimore passing game and hadn’t been among a number of wide receivers taking reps with the first-team offense in recent days. This offseason, Reed signed a two-year, $1.86 million contract that included a $500,000 signing bonus, meaning the Ravens will carry $250,000 in dead money in each of the next two years after Reed’s departure.
In three seasons with the Ravens, the 2010 fifth-round selection made five catches for 66 yards and had two rushing attempts for 31 yards. The highlight of his career in Baltimore was a 103-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Houston Texans in his rookie season, but ball-security issues caused him to lose his returner job in 2011 before he tore his ACL later that season.
The 5-foot-9, 232-pound Carter was listed as the fourth running back on Indianapolis’ current depth chart following the Colts’ decision to sign veteran Ahmad Bradshaw earlier this summer and was in danger of not making the 53-man roster despite being drafted in the fourth round out of Syracuse in the 2011 draft. After carrying the ball 101 times for 377 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie year, Carter gained just 122 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries last season while Vick Ballard and Donald Brown handled the workload in Indianapolis.
With Bernard Pierce recently dealing with a knee injury suffered in the preseason opener, Carter might prove to be an upgrade over third-string options Anthony Allen, Bobby Rainey, and Damien Berry should he prove to be a capable special-teams player. However, it isn’t a foregone conclusion that he ultimately makes the 53-man roster.
Looking at the big picture, the Ravens don’t really save any substantial salary cap space, so this trade was much more about two teams swapping players who now find themselves with better opportunities to make their new rosters. Colts head coach Chuck Pagano’s familiarity with Reed and Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell’s previous relationship with Carter in Indianapolis certainly appeared to be catalysts in making the deal.