The Baltimore Ravens are expected to make some significant changes to their offensive line this offseason. Following an injury-riddled disappointment of a 2021 campaign, the Ravens know they need to make improvements.
That includes the left tackle position — a position that was mostly a liability with Alejandro Villanueva in the starting lineup.
Villanueva was forced to switch sides after complications arose with Ronnie Stanley’s surgically-repaired ankle injury. Needless to say, the Ravens are unlikely to bring Villanueva back next season.
The team would love to see a healthy Stanley return and dominate in 2022, but they aren’t relying on it this time around. As The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reports, “it’s not exactly a secret that the Ravens will be in the left tackle market this offseason.”
Zrebiec cites the uncertainty surrounding Stanley’s health as the primary reason for this. And, in reality, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
The Ravens are concerned about Ronnie Stanley’s long-term health
Following an All-Pro 2019 season, Ronnie Stanley emerged as one of the best left tackles in football. He was rewarded for his efforts with a massive five-year, $98.75 million extension in October of 2020 — a deal that made him the highest-paid offensive lineman in football.
Unfortunately for both Stanley and the Ravens, the former first-round pick would suffer a serious ankle injury just two days later in the team’s Week 8 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Stanley has played just one game since that injury, a disastrous outing in Week 1 of 2021. Shortly after that game, the Ravens made the decision to shut Stanley down for the remainder of the season.
The Ravens realize that they can’t bank on Stanley returning to full health in 2022. That’s why the team isn’t only going to be in the market for a new starting right tackle, but they also might be looking for someone to play left tackle.
This isn’t to say that the Ravens are looking for Stanley’s replacement. Rather, they want insurance in case a similar situation arises. There’s no guarantee that Stanley is even ready to start Week 1.
Don’t be surprised to see the Ravens explore adding a player who can play left tackle either in free agency or, more likely, in the draft.