3 guards Ravens must consider signing after Kevin Zeitler departure

Baltimore needs more depth on the offensive line

Baltimore Ravens v New York Jets
Baltimore Ravens v New York Jets / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages
1 of 3

The Baltimore Ravens offensive line went from an area of overwhelming strength last season to arguably the biggest question mark on the roster. Three of the five starters from last season, including Pro Bowl guard Kevin Zeitler, have already left for (literally) greener pastures elsewhere.

Both Simpson and Moses are now on the New York Jets after the former signed a two-year contract and the latter was traded away. Zeitler, who put together perhaps the finest season of a very long and fruitful NFL career, signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions to replace Jonah Jackson.

The Ravens can't feel satisfied with their current offensive line, as projected replacement starters like Andrew Vorhees, Ben Cleveland, and Daniel Faalele have a combined eight starts between them, seven of which came from Cleveland. Eric DeCosta needs to make some additions in the free agent market.

The Ravens were able to turn Simpson into a quality starter and get the most out of Zeitler last year, showing they can identify and expand on offensive line talent on the open market. These three players all stand out as relatively economical options that could give the offensive line a stronger foundation.

3 offensive guards the Baltimore Ravens must sign in free agency

3. Nick Gates, Washington Commanders

Gates has played a lot of center during his professional career, which he has spent primarily with the New York Giants. However, he's put together enough good tape at guard when called upon to warrant another chance as a starter with a team that likes to pound the rock.

While much less powerful and strong than Simpson, Gates, who recovered from a gruesome leg injury with enough aplomb to become a starter in Washington last year, is a fairly solid athlete who can make blocks in the open field. He could serve as a nice counterbalance between two more rugged run-blockers in Cleveland and center Tyler Linderbaum.

The Baltimore Ravens could target Nick Gates in free agency

While Gates will have injury concerns and is fresh off allowing five sacks last year, Sam Howell holding the ball preposterously long contributed to many of Gates' poor numbers. Very few starting-caliber offensive linemen under the age of 30 are still out there on the market. Gates' experience could be an invaluable tool for him on the open market.

The Ravens shouldn't go into the season with a bunch of tomato cans blocking for Derrick Henry and Lamar Jackson, but they should feel more confident than most teams in their ability to elevate good offensive line play to a higher level. Gates was a much better player in New York and Washington than Simpson was with the Las Vegas Raiders.