Latest Kevin Zeitler update is bad news for Ravens fans who want him back

The Ravens might need a new right guard.

Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers v Baltimore Ravens / Michael Owens/GettyImages

The only sure thing on the Baltimore Ravens offensive line at the moment is center Tyler Linderbaum. Both starting tackles, Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses, face the possibility of being cap casualties, and starting guards Kevin Zeitler and John Simpson are both unrestricted free agents.

While the Ravens were able to come to an agreement with wide receiver Nelson Agholor on a one-year contract, Baltimore was unable to get anything done with Zeitler or running back Gus Edwards. Both of them now face the real possibility of leaving the Ravens and forcing them to change their entire offseason strategy.

Even though defensive stars like Patrick Queen and Justin Madubuike will be on the open market, Zeitler remains a name that most Ravens fans want back for 2024. Unfortunately, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, a return for Zeitler may be nothing more than wishful thinking.

Zrebiec called it "unlikely" that Zeitler will be back in Baltimore for the 2024 seasons, saying that it is much more likely the Ravens will use one of their better draft picks on a replacement guard. As true as this may be, Baltimore needs to take this to the eleventh hour and try their hardest to retain him.

Kevin Zeitler considered "unlikely" to return to Baltimore Ravens

Zeitler has been a rock-solid starter for Baltimore over the last three years, finally finding himself situated into a role on a contending team after bouncing between the Bengals, Browns, and Giants earlier in his career. Even as he prepared to turn 34 years old, Zeitler has missed just five games in the last four years.

With Zeitler making a Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, he picked a tremendous time to have a breakout season.

As brutal as it may be to replace Zeitler with a rookie, the Ravens' success with Linderbaum could prompt another move in the first or second round. With names like Duke's Graham Barton and Oregon's Jackson Powers-Johnson likely to be available at pick No. 30, the Ravens would be proactive in drafting a replacement.

Zeitler should be the main offensive priority in free agency, even if they failed to come together on an extension at multiple points in the past. The Ravens are typically a team that will let their free agents test the waters in free agency, but Eric DeCosta would be playing a very dangerous game with one of his most important players.