After the Baltimore Ravens officially signed Jeremy Maclin, there has been some speculation that the team was still in the mix for Eric Decker. Decker was just recently released by the New York Jets after they could not find a trade partner. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco commented on Decker after minicamp practice on Tuesday, and was open to the idea of him coming to Baltimore. Flacco stated:
"Eric would be a great guy, too, especially losing Dennis and getting a guy who can go inside. He's been a great receiver and he's played with some big quarterbacks. I'm sure he's been coached up. Listen, I've seen what he can do. Anytime you add players like that, its going to be good for your team."
While Decker would be a good fit in Baltimore, owner Steve Bisciotti might've canceled those possibilities in favor of another need the team has yet to address in free agency - the offensive line. The Ravens line lost right tackle Rick Wagner to free agency and traded center Jeremy Zuttah to the San Francisco 49ers. Right guard Marshal Yanda has been out of practices due to offseason shoulder surgery, and the team drafted Nico Siragusa and Jermaine Eluemunor respectively.
Bisciotti made his intentions loud and clear during a conference call with season ticket holders. Below is some of what the owner said via The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec's Twitter page:
Bisciotti: "I’d say that I don’t think that we have room for a starter at WR now ... I think I’m going to save that last punch for an OL."— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) June 13, 2017
Bisciotti on adding an OL: "We’ve got time, we’ve got some money and we’re quite sure that some offensive line help is going to shake out."— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) June 13, 2017
Bisciotti: "Right now, we have a lot of confidence in Chris Moore to be our 4th WR and let the competition begin with the 5th and 6th WR,"— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) June 13, 2017
The boss is right. After the huge Maclin signing, the team now needs to look at the offensive line because no matter how many playmakers you have, the offense struggles when the line isn’t blocking well.
One of the biggest reasons the team has missed the playoffs three of the last four seasons has been the inconsistency of the offensive line, and many felt coach Juan Castillo was to blame. Castillo is no longer in the picture as he departed for the Buffalo Bills, and was replaced by Joe D'Alessandris. With Castillo gone, fans will find out who was really at fault for the offensive line's play over the last couple of years.
Baltimore has two giant and glaring holes at right tackle and center. They did bring in free agent Nick Mangold for a visit back in April for a check-up to see how he was recovering from an ankle injury that cost him eight games a year ago. Last month, Mangold made an appearance on SiriusXM NFL Radio and said that the recovery was progressing slower than he expected. You have to figure the Ravens are monitoring Mangold's progress carefully, and hope he is 100% healthy if they do decide to sign him.
When it comes to right tackles, Orlando Franklin is still out there on the open market but King Dunlap recently retired. Other names that are still available include Ryan Clady, Cyrus Kouandjio, and Austin Pasztor.
Either way, it seems Bisciotti and the front office are now focused directly on signing the right player for this offensive line. If the Ravens want to be a more balanced offense in 2017 and make the playoffs, the key will be the play of the men up front. And Bisciotti knows it.