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Ravens trade center Gino Gradkowski to Broncos

Trade winds continue to blow during a swap-heavy offseason in the NFL.

The Ravens and Broncos have worked out a deal to send Baltimore center Gino Gradkowski to Denver. The Broncos announced that the blocker was acquired for "2016 draft pick considerations."

Gradkowski appeared in eight games last season -- but played only 10 snaps -- after making 16 starts for the Ravens in 2013. Seen as merely a backup behind Jeremy Zuttah in Baltimore, the fourth-year pivot will have a chance to win the starting job in Denver during the final year of his contract.

A fourth-round pick of the Ravens in 2012, Gradkowski needs polishing. He was a problem for Baltimore in 2013, ranking dead last among the league's 35 qualifying centers, per Pro Football Focus. Game tape showed far too many breakdowns, but the hope is that Gradkowski will develop for a Broncos squad undergoing a facelift up front.

With new Broncos coach Gary Kubiak set to implement his zone-blocking scheme, it's possible he saw positive traits from Gradkowski during his tenure as Baltimore's offensive coordinator. With Manny Ramirez finishing last season at right guard and Will Montgomery unsigned, the untested Matt Paradis is the only other center on Denver's roster.

The Broncos also showed some interest in signing Chris Myers, but the former Texans center could be out of the picture if Denver believes Gradkowski -- and a draft pick -- can battle for the starting role. 

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