In what is unfortunately a not so surprising bit of news, Baltimore Ravens tight end Darren Waller has been suspended for the entire 2017 season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
More TE issues for the #Ravens: Darren Waller is suspended for at least one year for violating @NFL Policy & Program for Substances of Abuse— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 30, 2017
A raw but exciting player, fans were somewhat optimistic about Waller’s role this year after he caught a handful of touchdowns in 2016. Instead, he’s found himself in the proverbial sin bin, and the Ravens look thin at a position that was a strength four weeks ago.
A few different moves could be made to offset this loss, with some already scouring the NFL for possible trade targets, but there is a player currently on the free agent market that may be able to help them out. That would be Gary Barnidge, a journeyman tight end who recently had some productive years in Cleveland with nothing but the factory of sadness, hydra of dissapointment to work with at quarterback.
He never was the most physically gifted tight end in the league, and his age will more than likely show itself at this point. However, with Dennis Pitta permanently put of the picture, Maxx Williams and Crockett Gillmore still dealing with injuries, and Nick Boyle serving as a constant question mark, Barnidge could provide stability in this group only currently matched by Benjamin Watson (a 36 year old coming off of a torn achilles).
Ravens fans will surely remember some memorable performances that Barnidge has put up against the team, and if he can replicate that in purple and black to any degree, he’d surely be a low risk/high reward signing by Ozzie Newsome as we head into training camp.