This morning it became official. Ben Grubbs is officially a saint and the Ravens are sorely lacking at left guard. The Saints payed him more than the Ravens could match with a 5 year 36 million dollar contract(16 million guaranteed). I for one was actually surprised to see Grubbs get that little money and I thought he would get a better offer. Regardless, the Ravens offer of (reportedly) 5 years 32.5 million just wasnt enough. Welcome to free agency Ravens fans, where loyalty can be bought for 3.5 million bucks.
Grubbs leaving isnt much of a surprise (or at least it shouldnt be), but it doesnt make it any easier to hear about. Grubbs was an integral part of the Ravens offense for the past few years and it will be extremely tough to replace him. Have no fear though, it appears (as usual) that Ozzie Newsome and the front office has a plan.
Evan Mathis, the Free Agent left guard formerly of the Eagles, is visiting the Ravens as I type and my bet is now that Grubbs is gone, Mathis isnt allowed to leave without a deal. Ravens fans should be pretty happy if and when this deal happens. Mathis is at worst a minimal step down from grubbs, but due to his age he will cost a fraction of what Grubbs cost(grubbs got 5 years 36 million, Mathis will likely get something around 4 years 12-15 million). Profootballfocus.com rated Mathis as the top guard in the NFL last season using their advanced metric system (which to be fair is a little sketchy and far from widely used or accepted).
The Ravens also have a few more irons in the fire right now. Eric Winston is expected to be in town for a visit tomorrow. If Winston were to sign it would likely mean that the Ravens are releasing Bryant McKinney (he is due a 500,000 roster bonus on saturday) and moving Michael Oher back over to the Left Tackle position. Im not crazy about that idea because i think it is one step forward and two steps back but perhaps the coaching staff feels that Oher improved enough last year to warrant another try on the left side.
While there is still no word about a potential visit, the Ravens are still very much in the mix for free agent WR Eddie Royal. Royal would have been one of my top targets for free agency and I think he would be an excellent fit for a no.3 WR role and full time duties as a kick and punt returner(something the Ravens dearly need help with). The Chargers are the current favorite to land Royal, but he would almost certainly get more playing time in Baltimore, not to mention a better chance at a Superbowl ring.
The Ravens are also still in the mix for the services of Ted Ginn Jr. Ginn brings almost nothing to the table as a WR but he is an elite return man and would bring stability and consistency to the Ravens special teams group. The Ravens would still almost certainly be in the market for a WR if they signed him because he should be considered no better than a number 4 WR and a situation player. If the Ravens signed Ginn, I would expect them to use either their 1st or 2nd round pick on a WR like Stephen Hill, Alshon Jeffery, Mohommed Sanu or Brian Quick(all those guys are 6-foot-4 or taller).
In non-Ravens related news, Mario Williams has officially signed a contract to play for the Bills. it appears he will receive north of 50 million in guaranteed money. T-Sizzle will be a free agent in a couple years so Williams monster deal is something to watch (Suggs will be significantly older than Williams is now though). With Williams off the board, expect free agent defenders to start to fly off the board, agents were waiting for Williams to set the market and the market has now been set. DEs and LBs should start falling one by one. Williams signing could also mean the Titans are leaders in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes. Williams was thought by many to be waiting to see what the Titans were going to do(they couldn’t sign williams and manning) about Manning, his signing could mean he knows something we don’t know, or it could mean he just wants to be a Bill and im reading to much into what it all means.
***UPDATE*** Williams deal is being reported as a 6 year 100 million dollar contract with 50 guaranteed. It makes Terrell Suggs contract look like a bargain doesnt it?
Stay tuned for more.
Tags: Alshon Jeffery Baltimore Ravens Ben Grubbs Brian Quick Bryant McKinney Buffalo Bills Denver Broncos Eddie Royal Eric Winston Evan Mathis Houston Texans MArio Williams Michael Oher Mohommed Sanu Peyton Manning Philadelphia Eagles San Diego Chargers San Francisco 49ers Stephen Hill Ted Ginn Jr Tennessee Titans Terrell Suggs