Ian Rappoport of the NFL Network has reported that Alejandro Villanueva is set to meet with the Baltimore Ravens. Here are three big questions for the potential signing of the long-time Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle.
1. What does this mean about Orlando Brown Jr.?
Signing Alejandro Villanueva would be a very interesting move for the Baltimore Ravens. The first question you have to ask here is the obvious one. Are the Ravens moving Orlando Brown Jr. in a trade? It’s been the most talked-about hypothetical trade scenario in some time for the Ravens.
Signing Villanueva wouldn’t necessarily mean the Ravens are trading Brown Jr. though it would be a good indicator. It’s also worth reminding you that the Ravens probably won’t make a signing until after the 2021 NFL Draft, so we have time to chew this over and gain more intel about what’s going on here. The Ravens could be getting contingency plans in place in the occurrence of a trade.
Villanueva isn’t accustomed to sitting on the bench. While he won’t be making as much as he probably dreamed of when free agency started, he’s a starting tackle with rock-solid experience. At the age of 32, he isn’t a long-term option. If this move happened it would smell like one for the present moment and the starting lineup.
The Ravens do need quality depth at the offensive tackle positions. They signed D.J. Fluker and drafted Tyree Phillips a year ago. In theory, they had two guards who could act as swing tackles. It didn’t go over all that well. In theory, this could be a move for depth, though it sounds a little like crazy talk.
Villanueva is a quality starter so he would be about the best backup you could get in the NFL. If the Ravens draft an offensive tackle and sign the former Steeler, they could be looking for Villanueva to be a bridge starter at right tackle. There aren’t a ton of scenarios that make much sense with Brown Jr. and Villanueva on the same Ravens roster.
There aren’t a lot of scenarios where Villanueva is a backup. He’s too good for that and it’s doubtful that he’d want to sign up for that.
It doesn’t mean anything right now. It could be just the Ravens doing their due diligence on a free agent they’ve played against for a long time. You have to ask, do they know something that we don’t know?