Ravens Re-Sign Bryant McKinnie
The deal is over two years and has a maximum value of $7 million. This value includes incentives that can be earned so the real value of the contract will be a bit cheaper.
Last year McKinnie seemed to be in head coach John Harbaugh's dog house for the regular season as he never really played despite being one of the best five linemen on the Ravens, and probably the best left tackle.
Due to an injury to starting guard Jah Reid, the Ravens had to shake up their offensive line for the playoffs, which resulted in McKinnie playing at left tackle. With this rearrangement, the offensive line clicked and provided quarterback Joe Flacco with the best protection of the season.
This improvement of the offensive line was one of the main reasons that the Ravens were able to win the Super Bowl last season. Flacco was given enough time to find open receivers and he caught fire and finished the season off as Super Bowl XLVII MVP.
Coming out of last weeks NFL draft, one of the main criticisms of the Ravens draft was that they failed to address the left tackle position. While they did draft Wisconsin OT Ricky Wagner, he isn't a candidate to start as he was a 5th round pick. The Ravens must have known that they had McKinnie in their back pocket if they couldn't draft a suitable starter at left tackle.
This move is a surprise signing as over the last few days, McKinnie had taken visits to the Miami Dolphins and the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers had even offered McKinnie a contract for him to mull over. While all of this was going on, there was no news about the Ravens talking to McKinnie so it was assumed that they would be letting him walk.
This turned out to not be the case and leaves the Ravens with only one real question mark on their roster as they head into rookie minicamps. This question mark is the wide receiver position as the Ravens traded away a starter, Anquan Boldin, and have done nothing to replace him. They are going to have to rely on someone stepping up in training camp to replace Boldin's production from last year.
When the Ravens offense excelled in the playoffs, this was their offensive line (with one exception due to retirement). McKinnie played very well at left tackle during this run. Osemele was the starting right tackle in the regular season and played pretty good there. Once moved to left guard though, his performance was much better. Gradkowski, a 4th round pick last year, will take over for the retired Matt Birk. Yanda has shown over the last few years that he is the best right guard in the league so there are no worries at this position. Lastly, at right tackle, is Michael Oher. Oher has had an up and down career, switching between left and right tackle. His best position has been right tackle though. He is in his contract year this season so he will be motivated to perform.
Overall, the McKinnie signing is very good for the Ravens. It upgrades three positions on the offensive line at once (LT, LG, and RT). Plus, they didn't spend too much on re-signing McKinnie. Assuming McKinnie's weight stays under control, as it has been a problem before, the Ravens will be happy with this signing.