After a 48 hour tour that took free agent left tackle Bryant McKinnie from coast to coast in search of a new job, it appears that the anchor of the Ravens offensive line isn’t going anywhere.
On Tuesday, McKinnie commuted 15 minutes from his Miami home for a workout with the Dolphins. Without a contract offer in hand, McKinnie traveled across the country to another tropical paradise and worked out for the San Diego Chargers. After undergoing a physical with the Chargers, many believed that the free agency tour was over for the Super Bowl winning left tackle.
Well, it appears McKinnie and the Ravens had a gentleman’s agreement all along as news has just broke that he and the Ravens have agreed in principal to a two-year deal.
Prior to the draft, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh had said that second-year guard Kelechi Osemele would move to tackle if the team had to line up and play that day. Given that the Ravens hadn’t re-signed McKinnie and failed to draft his eventual replacement, that statement by Harbaugh appeared to be more fact than lip service. Given the timing, McKinnie wasn’t going to be a hot commodity on the free agent market until the draft had concluded.
Re-signing McKinnie is a huge move for the Ravens as they now have a true left tackle to protect their $120 million investment in quarterback Joe Flacco. Even though Osemele had lined up at left tackle during his collegiate years at Iowa State, he will serve the team far better playing at guard. Had a team offered McKinnie a contract the Ravens were uncomfortable matching, it would have hurt the team far worse than just missing out on a left tackle. At best, Osemele could be considered a good left tackle, but he is outstanding at guard.
Along the offensive line, the only question mark heading into training camp is who will occupy center for the recently retired Matt Birk. As of now, Gino Gradkowski will be snapping the ball to his fellow University of Delaware alum. In the sixth-round, the Ravens added Ryan Jensen from Colorado State- Pueblo to provide competition.
Regardless of who wins the job at center, the Ravens made the right move at left tackle. That has to make Flacco and his teammates a whole lot more comfortable as they try to repeat as champions.