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Why Baltimore may not work as trade partner for Brandon Marshall

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The Baltimore Ravens have been a favorite target as a potential home for Brandon Marshall.  The Ravens need for big-play receivers, coupled with Derrick Mason's decision on whether or not to retire, leaves the Ravens - a team built to win now - in a tough predicament.

As we all get well-versed on the implications of what looks to be an unavoidable uncapped season in 2010, Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times tells us why Marshall-to-Baltimore might be tougher than it looks -

Because of the likelihood of an uncapped year with the collective bargaining agreement talks reportedly not going well, the Ravens could be severely restricted in their ability to bolster their receiving corps through free agency.

As one of the final eight playoff teams, the Ravens would be unable to sign an unrestricted free agent until they lose one of their own unrestricted free agents. Plus, the team can’t sign that player for more money than the free agent it loses.

The Ravens would be allowed to sign just one player with a salary of $4.925 million or higher. They would be allowed to sign players with a first-year compensation level of $3.2 million that can’t climb any more than 30 percent in the subsequent years.

Signing a restricted free agent wide receiver like the Denver Broncos’ Brandon Marshall and the San Diego Chargers’ Vincent Jackson or trading for the Arizona CardinalsAnquan Boldin looks unlikely.

Among the unrestricted free wideouts: Antonio Bryant, Terrell Owens, Muhsin Muhammad and Kevin Walter.

So, holding onto Mason could become a necessity, not a luxury.

The top-8 teams will be severely hampered in free agency.  It was designed, in many ways, to get the players and owners to AVOID the very situation we look likely to be heading towards.

All of this is fluid, and the two sides have shown in the past they can come together very quickly and get something done.  As it stands now, however, the Broncos and Brandon Marshall might be together for the foreseeable future.