The Ravens are in a need of help on the offensive line and especially at the center position after they let Jeremy Zuttah walk this off-season and just getting news that their 2017-2018 projected starter John Urshel is retiring.
This is a complete shock as the former Penn State product is only 26, but he is a smart man and going to spend his career elsewhere, as that elsewhere will be in the math world, due to the fact he is a Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at MIT.
The announcement from Urshel will force Ryan Jensen to step in the starting role until they find a better option. Jensen was slated to start training camp as Urshel’s main backup.
One name that could be a quick and possible solution is Nick Mangold, who was the New York Jets long time center. He has been dealing with injuries this past season that limited him to half a season, but he would be worth the gamble. A low risk and high reward type player at this point of his career.
Mangold is a 33-year old center that has appeared in 164 career games and started all of them for the Jets. He was their starting center when they drafted him back in the 2006 NFL Draft (29th overall pick).
In addition, in his long NFL career, he has been selected to seven Pro Bowls and two First-Team All-Pros.
Overall, this will be a major upgrade, but expect the team to explore other options as well. Maybe another veteran like Cody Wallace (free agent) or a guy who could be cut when rosters get trimmed (Jason Kelce), which they could possibly trade for Jason Kelce, if they had too.
Other potential roster cuts at the center position could include the loser of the backup center position of Daniel Kilgore or Tim Baines from the San Francisco 49ers or Evan Smith from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, plus Evan Smith can play the both guard spots if needed.
Lastly, the Ravens are exploring the option of adding another quarterback to the fold with Joe Flacco set to miss time with a back injury. As reported by Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun. The one name being mentioned right now is Colin Kaepernick, and head coach John Harbaugh confirmed on bringing in another signal caller by mentioning it “depends on what Kaepernick wants to do.” So the Ravens are interested in obtaining the 29-year old services. Kaepernick could reunite with the Ravens’ senior offensive assistant Greg Roman, who was once the 49ers’ offensive coordinator.
Note: The Ravens have Ryan Mallet and Dustin Vaughan listed behind Joe Flacco on the depth chart.