The Ravens suffered a big loss on their offensive line last offseason when future Hall of Famer Marshal Yanda retired. Obviously, you can’t replace a Hall of Famer, and the difference showed. The Ravens gave up 23 sacks in 2019, then 37 this season. Along with the offensive line issues without Yanda, Ravens offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. has recently spoken out to add to the chaos.
The Ravens are facing more speculation and worries about their offensive line. Orlando Brown posted a tweet stating “I’m a LEFT tackle.” Brown got numerous reps at left tackle last year when Ronnie Stanley went down with a season-ending injury in Week 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, the Ravens already have a star left tackle in Ronnie Stanley. They gave Stanley a big contract extension in the middle of the season right before he got hurt. Stanley is not going anywhere.
Brown is still on his rookie contract, but he is scheduled to become a free agent after next season. This leaves the Ravens three options: re-sign Brown, trade him or let him walk as a free agent.
Why Ravens Should Re-Sign Brown
The Ravens could try to sign Brown to a long term deal. Reports have come out that Brown is willing to play right tackle for Baltimore, provided he gets left tackle money. Typically, the blind side tackle gets paid more in the NFL, which in most cases is the left tackle, due to a right-handed quarterback.
The highest-paid left tackle (David Bakhtiari) will be getting $23 million next year. The highest-paid right tackle (Lane Johnson) will be making $18 million in 2021. The Ravens can’t afford to pay two offensive linemen at a left tackle’s salary. They have other contract extensions on the table, including 2019 MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews and wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. That’s not to mention the reduced salary cap because of COVID-19.
Why Ravens Should Trade Brown
Another option the Ravens could explore is to trade Brown. Teams such as the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Chargers need an upgrade at left tackle. The Ravens could get a high second or low first-round pick in return for Brown. However, it would also leave a hole on the right side of their offensive line.
The Ravens are already having issues at right guard after Yanda’s retirement, and trading Brown would open up a gaping hole at right tackle. But, it would get some return for a player who won’t be sticking around.
Why Ravens Should Let Brown Walk
The Ravens could retain Brown for 2021 and let him sign somewhere else after the season. Baltimore is trying to win now and Brown is a big piece on their offensive line. Additionally, they’ll get compensation picks once he signs with another team who can afford to pay him what he’s worth. This seems to be the most likely option. Brown might be willing to take a pay cut to stay in Baltimore, since his father played for the Ravens and still mentors players. But as of now, it seems unlikely. Brown has many reasons to stay, but he won’t be back at a $20 million contract.