The Impact of the Calais Campbell Trade How One Move Shook Up the NFL

The Calais Campbell trade in 2020 was a major event that sent shockwaves throughout the NFL. It involved Pro Bowl defensive end, Calais Campbell, being traded from the Jacksonville Jaguars to the Baltimore Ravens for a fifth-round pick. Many experts and fans were left stunned by this move, as Campbell was coming off a stellar season with the Jaguars and was seen as a key piece to their defense. In this article, we will dive into the details of the Calais Campbell trade and its impact on both teams, as well as the league as a whole.

The Background of the Trade

Before we delve into the specifics of the trade, let’s take a closer look at the two teams involved. The Jacksonville Jaguars were coming off a disappointing season where they finished with a record of 6-10, missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year. On the other hand, the Baltimore Ravens had just won the AFC North with a record of 14-2 and were considered one of the top teams in the league.

Calais Campbell was a key member of the Jaguars’ defense, recording 56 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles in the 2019 season. He was also named to his fifth Pro Bowl and was widely regarded as one of the best defensive ends in the league. However, the Jaguars were looking to shed some salary cap space and decided to put Campbell on the trading block.

The Trade Details

On March 15, 2020, the trade was officially announced, with the Ravens acquiring Campbell in exchange for a fifth-round pick. This move was seen as a steal for the Ravens, as they were able to acquire a Pro Bowl caliber player for a relatively low draft pick. On the other hand, the Jaguars were criticized for not getting enough in return for Campbell, who was still under contract for two more years.

The Impact on the Baltimore Ravens

For the Baltimore Ravens, the addition of Calais Campbell was a major boost to their already stacked defense. The team had been looking for a dominant pass rusher and they found one in Campbell. His presence on the defensive line would not only help improve their pass rush but also free up other players to make plays. In the 2019 season, the Ravens were ranked 21st in sacks with 37, but with the addition of Campbell, they were confident that number would rise significantly.

How to Use Calais Campbell Trade

The Baltimore Ravens have utilized Calais Campbell’s versatility and strength to their advantage. They have primarily used him as a defensive end, but have also lined him up at defensive tackle and even outside linebacker. This has allowed them to create mismatches and confuse offensive schemes, making it easier for the rest of the defense to make plays. Additionally, his leadership and experience have been invaluable for the young Ravens defense.

Examples of Impactful Plays

In just his first game with the Ravens, Calais Campbell made an immediate impact. He recorded 3 tackles, 2 sacks, and an interception, which he returned for a touchdown. This performance earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. In another game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Campbell recorded 3 sacks, 6 quarterback hits, and a forced fumble, helping the Ravens secure a win.

Comparing Before and After the Trade

Before the Calais Campbell trade, the Ravens had a good defense, but they lacked a dominant pass rusher. With Campbell’s addition, their defense went from good to great. In the 2020 season, the Ravens finished with the second-best defense in terms of points allowed per game and fourth-best in terms of yards allowed per game.

The Impact on the Jacksonville Jaguars

While the Baltimore Ravens benefitted greatly from the Calais Campbell trade, the Jacksonville Jaguars struggled without him. The team finished with a record of 1-15, the worst in franchise history. Their defense, in particular, took a major hit as they were unable to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. This was evident in their sack numbers, dropping from 47 in 2019 to just 18 in 2020.

Advice for the Jacksonville Jaguars

In hindsight, it’s clear that trading away Calais Campbell was a mistake for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They not only lost a key player on the field but also a leader in the locker room. The team needs to focus on rebuilding their defense and finding a replacement for Campbell. It’s important for them to learn from this mistake and make better decisions in the future.

FAQs about the Calais Campbell Trade

How did Calais Campbell perform in his first season with the Ravens?

Calais Campbell had an exceptional season with the Ravens, recording 28 tackles, 4 sacks, and an interception. He was also named to his sixth Pro Bowl.

What impact did the Calais Campbell trade have on the Ravens’ pass rush?

The addition of Calais Campbell significantly improved the Ravens’ pass rush, going from 21st in sacks in 2019 to 11th in 2020.

Did the Jaguars regret trading away Calais Campbell?

It’s safe to say that the Jaguars regretted trading away Calais Campbell, as their defense struggled without him and they finished with the worst record in franchise history.

How long is Calais Campbell’s contract with the Ravens?

Calais Campbell signed a two-year contract with the Ravens, keeping him with the team until the end of the 2021 season.

What lessons can be learned from the Calais Campbell trade?

The Calais Campbell trade serves as a reminder to teams that the value of a player goes beyond just statistics, and leadership and experience should also be taken into consideration.


The Calais Campbell trade was a major move that had a significant impact on both the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the Ravens, it solidified their defense and helped them become one of the top teams in the league. On the other hand, the Jaguars struggled without Campbell and learned a valuable lesson about the importance of leadership and experience on a team. Only time will tell how this trade will ultimately play out, but it’s safe to say that it will be remembered as one of the most impactful trades in recent NFL history.

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