Could the recently released Larry Warford be a free agency option for the Baltimore Ravens?
The Baltimore Ravens have made a significant investment in their offensive line this offseason, spending multiple mid-round draft choices towards Tyre Phillips and Ben Bredeson, as well as signing D.J. Fluker to a one-year contract. But Eric DeCosta has said he’d like to add another tackle, signaling that Baltimore may not yet be done fortifying the offensive trenches for 2020. With that being said, could Larry Warford be a target for the Ravens?
Warford is not a tackle, having lined up at right guard in each of his seven NFL seasons with the Lions and Saints. However, signing the three-time Pro Bowler to slot into Marshall Yanda’s old role would allow one of Phillips and Fluker to slide into a backup tackle role, indirectly “adding another tackle” to the roster.
The argument could be made that the Ravens’ remaining ~$8.8-million in cap space should go towards finding another pass rusher or acquiring a veteran wide receiver, and either option would be a strong case. That being said, should a team with sights set on a 2020 Super Bowl run really enter the season with unproven options like Bredeson and Phillips in the mix to replace a future Hall of Famer?
Both rookies have promise and could very well grow into quality additions along the interior offensive line, but with what figures to be a limited offseason, it’s hard to imagine either will be able to get “coached up” to the point of being able to significantly contribute for a Super Bowl contender right out of the gates in Week one.
While the more proven Fluker is certainly an option to step in for Yanda, Matt Skura is no sure thing coming off an injury, meaning there would still be uncertainty at either center or left guard depending on where Bradley Bozeman is deployed.
Given that he will likely cost a fraction of what a pass rusher like Jadeveon Clowney will command, Warford also represents a great value addition for the Ravens, who utilize their cap space about as effectively as any team in the NFL. Baltimore could likely fit him into the picture without making any additional cap maneuvers. This means that any room created by a post-June first cut or an extension to Ronnie Stanley or Matthew Judon would leave the Ravens with additional space to make another move in-season if they feel so inclined.
Baltimore is in the envious position of having little in the way of obvious roster holes entering the summer, meaning they can shift their attention to finding ways they can put themselves “over the top.” Things will likely work out just fine if the team were to enter Week one with their current group of interior offensive linemen. But with few other needs, cap room, and a three-time Pro Bowler out there? How could you say no?