Mekari, who was set to be a restricted free agent this offseason, has served as the team’s main right tackle in 2021 despite not being very familiar with the position.
So far this season, Mekari has made 10 starts and played in 81 percent of offensive snaps. According to Pro Football Focus, Mekari is the 51st-ranked offensive tackle (left or right) in the league, which isn’t bad at all for a player intended to be just a backup.
The 24-year-old fought through multiple injuries to plug in wherever the Ravens needed the most help. After losing Ronnie Stanley, that area was right tackle, and Mekari performed at a high level in his new position game after game.
At the very least, re-signing Mekari gives Baltimore an excellent and versatile depth piece who can fill in at any offensive line position in a pinch.
The Ravens retained a key piece of their offensive line in Patrick Mekari
Mekari was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2019, and throughout his Baltimore career, he mostly played at center and right guard.
Keeping Mekari affords the team a wealth of options, which will be important given their currently shaky offensive line.
The Ravens have still retained Alejandro Villanueva and Ja’Wuan James for next year, but Mekari has outperformed them both and could continue to play right tackle in 2022. If Baltimore wants him back at center and decides to let go of Bradley Bozeman, Mekari would flourish, too.
After a Week 6 win against the Los Angeles Chargers, head coach John Harbaugh praised Mekari’s ability to adapt in difficult scenarios:
"“I’ve seen a guy that’s just playing the position, really, in all honesty, about as well as you could expect it to be played. I couldn’t be more pleased with him – run blocking, pass protection – [and] his versatility, obviously, but he’s locked in at right tackle, and I couldn’t ask for a better player there right now.”"
The identity of the Ravens, now and in the future, continues to revolve around one player: Lamar Jackson.
It only makes sense that Baltimore’s goal in 2022 should be giving him as much support as possible, and that starts with resigning key players like Mekari. Other NFL teams have sought expensive aid for their quarterbacks and succeeded.
Justin Herbert is thriving this season because the Los Angeles Chargers invested in a stalwart offensive line. Joe Burrow is enjoying a record-breaking second year because the Cincinnati Bengals got him a shiny new wide receiver, among other weapons.
Lamar Jackson’s success next season will hinge on his offensive line, and re-signing Mekari is a good first move.