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Time running out on keeping Baltimore Ravens guard Kelechi Osemele off the market

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The clock is ticking for free agency to start, and the Ravens have ticked off several important things on their off season to-do list. Joe Flacco is under contract for three more years, with a smaller cap hit for 2016 and 2017. Justin Tucker has been franchised, and signed his tender already, so he will be with the Ravens in 2016 at the very least. The Ravens have also let go two veterans, Daryl Smith and Chris Canty, with more likely to come.

One accomplishment which has eluded them is keeping their budding Pro Bowl guard and solid tackle under contract, with Kelechi Osemele days away from hitting the market. The team has been rumored to have made a strong offer, one which would put Osemele as the highest paid guard and just outside the top 10 left tackles. But despite the talks, it seems like it is not going to be finalized before the opening of free agency, barring a last minute change. The Ravens are reportedly close to resigning cornerback Shareece Wright, and while that may have been something they were willing to do regardless of the decision Osemele made, there is a possibility that is a sign the Ravens have given up on retaining him.

The Ravens had a similiar dynamic in the 2014 offseason- the team made an aggressive offer to retain veteran cornerback Corey Graham. It was reported the offer was identical to the one he ended up accepting, ultimately choosing to return to his hometown Buffalo Bills to finish off his career. As soon as it was reported that Graham had made his decision, the Ravens were on the phone with wide receiver and pro bowl returner Jacoby Jones, who was just finishing up a visit with the New York Giants. Although it was reported he was about to sign a contract to go to New York, he interrupted his negotiations with the Giants and hopped on a plane back to Baltimore. Ultimately he resigned with the Ravens that day, a decision the team likely regrets.

The Wright negotiations may have no bearing on the potential Osemele resigning, but the likelihood at this point is that Osemele will test the market. Ravens players usually do not return after testing the market, unless they find it colder than they expected. Ray Lewis is one of the few players in recent years to return after testing the market. Hopefully I am wrong about it, but at this point I expect the Left Tackle position to be manned by someone other than Kelechi Osemele in 2016.