With the offseason quickly coming to an end, the Baltimore Ravens are enjoying a break before training camp begins at the end of July. However, officials might be focusing on some difficult roster decisions now that they have seen OTAs and minicamp.
The 2014 draft was certainly successful for the Ravens, and the entire offseason has strengthened the depth of many positions. The offensive line is desperate for improvement, especially after last year’s disappointment. Joe Flacco was constantly pressured and there were few holes for the running backs. Hopefully under their new offensive coordinator, Gary Kubiak, the offensive line will implement some changes.
It was a surprise not to see a new offensive tackle added during the draft, but the Ravens did let go of Michael Oher and promoted Ricky Wagner to replace the right tackle position. Wagner has received praise throughout the offseason, so he should have the confidence to fill Oher’s spot.
Left guard Kelechi Osemele is back to 100 percent after his back surgery last November. This should be a great boost for the offensive line, especially since Osemele played a significant role in the Ravens’ 2012 Super Bowl run. Because of Osemele’s return to health this year, I really don’t see a need for the Ravens to hold on to guard and tackle Jah Reid.
According to spotrac.com, Reid’s average salary is $650,810. The Ravens are on a tight budget and have a number of talented rookies who hope to see the roster, so cutting Reid might benefit the team overall. Reid was also one of the several legal problems the Ravens faced this offseason, charged with two misdemeanor counts of battery after an altercation at a strip club in Florida.
Although he was able to avoid jail with a 12-month probation, officials do not take legal issues lightly. This upcoming season would be the last of his four-year $2.6 million contract, and he has only played in 35 career games. Reid missed out on minicamp due to a strained calf from earlier in the offseason. Officials need to decide if he is really worth keeping on the 53-man roster.
The Ravens’ offensive line is extremely versatile. Many of the players can work as either guard or tackle, so there is definitely an opportunity for some flexibility if needed. Ryan Jensen will most likely join Wagner as a right tackle, and Jensen has major potential for the offensive line after not allowing a single sack in 2012 at Colorado State-Pueblo. Marshal Yanda is finally back to normal after rotator cuff surgery last year, so the three-time Pro Bowler should be ready to take on the right guard position again.
The Ravens made a smart decision grabbing Penn State’s John Urschel, a right guard who graduated in three years with a 4.0. I hope to see him make the roster and join Yanda at right guard, especially because Yanda seems to be injury-prone. Left tackle includes Eugene Monroe and undrafted rookie free agent James Hurst from UNC. The Ravens got a great deal early last season, picking up 27-year-old Monroe with a trade from the Jaguars. Hurst is an efficient run blocker and should develop smoothly behind Monroe, which will help further enhance his athleticism
Reid played a disappointing 23 snaps in 2013 and is now dealing with a calf injury. The offensive line looks more prepared than ever, and Reid would really only work as a backup. If he does not get healthy quickly and prove himself in training camp, I think he should be cut before the 2014 season. With Osemele’s health back on the rise, there will be less of a need for Reid.