The Baltimore Ravens faced a double setback on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, not only losing 33-31 in what could end up being a pivotal seeding-deciding matchup in the AFC North but also seeing two key starters exit the game due to injuries, including an overpaid veteran lineman.
The most impactful of those two injured players was, undoubtedly, Pro Bowl cornerback and defensive lynchpin Marlon Humphrey. The other one was oft-injured and underperforming lineman Ronnie Stanley.
Stanley, the Ravens 2019 All-Pro left tackle, left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury. Second-year lineman Daniel Faalele stepped in for Stanley, who has struggled with injuries since November 2020.
The former Pro Bowler has dealt with injuries impacting his hips, shoulders, and ankles of late, and it's not looking like the woes are going to vanish all of a sudden. Just look at Sunday's outcome.
Coach John Harbaugh provided a brief update after the game saying "I don't have any updates right now," although there is a game on TNF so we can expect injury updates by mid-Monday at the latest.
Stanley, plagued by injury problems, has faced challenges staying on the field during the past few seasons having appeared in just 19 games, including Sunday's matchup, over the past three seasons combined.
There is no denying his talents, but his hefty salary and his shaky health are putting Stanley in a very perilous position ahead of the next offseason. Stanley is set to earn $11 million in base salary next year, but his recent performance and his never-ending injuries might make Baltimore consider releasing him next spring.
Brad Gagnon of Bleacher Report recently mentioned Stanley as a potential cut to be made by the Ravens to save "more than $8 million by releasing the soon-to-be 30-year-old." The truth is that Gagnon might be absolutely right in that assessment and the plan to follow by Baltimore.
Before last Sunday against Cleveland, Stanley had already given up 21 pressures and allowed three quarterback hits, per Pro Football Focus. While still grading higher in pass protection than run blocking, his on-field struggles have been evident at points through his age-29 season.
The offensive line, including Stanley, struggled mightily against the Browns and defensive superstar Myles Garrett, who racked up 1.5 more sacks to pad his league-leading in that category.
No need to mention that the line could barely open running holes for quarterback Lamar Jackson and the rest of the backfield to exploit on the rushing game.
Stanley's potential departure next offseason would be notable, but it might not have a significant impact overall considering Baltimore already has super-sub and versatile lineman Patrick Mekari on the roster.