The Baltimore Ravens entered the offseason desperately needing to upgrade their offensive line. The unit allowed 57 sacks during the 2021 season, second to only the Chicago Bears (58). Lamar Jackson is one of the most gifted playmakers in the NFL, but he can only do so much without adequate protection.
General manager Eric DeCosta seemingly got the memo and wasted no time addressing the problem early in the free agency period. Morgan Moses is on the older side of things. Still, he’s one of the most reliable offensive linemen in the game today.
Jackson’s contract status is up in the air, but the Ravens are proving their commitment to the former MVP.
The Ravens signed Morgan Moses to 3-year, $15 million contract
The Baltimore Ravens clearly want to improve after their disappointing 8-9 finish in 2021. Injuries played a massive role in the team’s struggles. Several key players up front suffered injuries, which tested the offensive line’s depth.
Baltimore isn’t going to make the same mistake again. According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, the Ravens and New York Jets offensive tackle Morgan Moses agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal.
Moses was one of the best available tackles on the free-agent market. He played for the Jets in 2021 after spending seven seasons in Washington. The Virginia product has been Mr. Reliable throughout his career. He’s started every game since the beginning of the 2015 season.
Pro Football Focus gave Moses a grade of 71.0 for the 2021 season. He played 1,022 snaps, allowing just four sacks and committing three penalties.
The front office is proving its commitment to Lamar Jackson
In most Baltimore Ravens games, Lamar Jackson will be the best player on the field. Despite his greatness, the rest of the parts must come together for the All-Pro quarterback to achieve peak success.
When Jackson won MVP in 2019, he had one of the best offensive lines in the league in front of him. The 2021 unit was a far cry from that. Inconsistency across the board was a major hindrance. Injuries also played a role, especially with the Ravens shutting down All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley after Week 1 (ankle).
Stanley’s injury forced Baltimore to turn to Alejandro Villanueva at left tackle, which was a disaster. If Stanley returns healthy, Moses projects as the starting right tackle. The veteran plays better on the right side, as that’s his natural position. His reliability also provides insurance should there be any setbacks in Stanley’s recovery.
Bringing Moses on board is fantastic news for Lamar Jackson. His contract negotiations are a hot topic right now, as he appears to be in no rush to get a new deal done. That could mean he’s holding out to get more money down the road when the market changes, or he’s unsure of his future in Baltimore. If it’s the latter, getting reinforcements could help put his mind at ease.
Baltimore must continue to bolster the offensive line
Don’t expect the Ravens front office to stop at Morgan Moses. Eric DeCosta understands that lack of reliable depth pieces along the offensive line causes serious problems for the offense. He must continue to bolster the unit through free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft.
Patrick Mekari and Ja’Wuan James are the other tackles under contract. James is a bit of a wild card because he hasn’t played a live snap since 2019. Mekari is versatile, and the team could call on him to play on the interior.
The Ravens are solid at guard between Kevin Zeitler, Ben Powers, and Ben Cleveland. Center Bradley Bozeman is an unrestricted free agent, so Baltimore might need to replace him if he signs elsewhere.
The upcoming draft class has several talented offensive linemen, presenting an opportunity for the front office to stock up.
The Ravens were missing several key offensive players in 2021, including running backs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards. If healthy, the sky is the limit for Lamar Jackson and company (as long as the offensive line doesn’t hold them back).
For most teams, the Super Bowl window doesn’t stay open long. This is Baltimore’s chance to right the ship.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference