In the wake of Marshal Yanda’s retirement decision, the Ravens will now be forced to pivot and seek ways to upgrade the interior of their offensive line - specifically at the right guard position.
According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, they could look to a familiar face as a potential replacement: Kelechi Osemele.
From NFL Now on @nflnetwork: With Marshal Yanda now retired, keep an eye on a possible return to the #Ravens for former #Jets G Kelechi Osemele, who is working his way back to health following shoulder surgery. pic.twitter.com/UBCHXb7QCD— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 10, 2020
The Ravens selected Osemele in the second round of the 2012 draft. He started all 16 games in his rookie season and played 35 more games with Baltimore before signing with the Raiders in free agency following the 2015 season.
Osemele’s four-year stint with the Ravens was successful enough to earn him a big pay day, as Las Vegas (formerly Oakland) gave him a five-year deal worth roughly $60 million. The Ravens evidently weren’t willing to go dig that deep into their pocket book at the time to retain Osemele.
However, flash forward to 2020 and the circumstances are much, much different. Osemele is now past his prime at 30 years old and has struggled with injuries recently. He’s suited up in just 14 games over the past two seasons and was traded to the Jets for a fifth-round draft pick last year.
The pairing between Osemele and New York went sideways rather quickly, as the two sides did not see eye to eye on the extent to which Osemele had injured his shoulder. Osemele believed his injury required surgery and the organization reportedly didn’t agree. Just a day after undergoing a procedure in October last year, Osemele was released.
Now, Osemele is on the free agent market and is “working his way back to health”, as Garofolo put it in the video above. Osemele is no longer the player he once was in the mid-2010’s but a possible reunion in Baltimore could make sense for both parties.
Osemele would obviously not be able to replicate what Marshal Yanda brought to the table at right guard. However, f he can manage to recover fully from his injury and return to 100% health, he’s at least a more proven commodity than say, Ben Powers - who currently projects to compete for a starting job this summer as the depth chart currently stands.
At the same time, Osemele certainly is not without his question marks. Even if he works his way back into playing shape, how much he has left in the tank remains to be seen and the Ravens may be better off looking to add another free agent or draft an interior offensive lineman with one of their early-round draft picks.
Nevertheless, the idea of Osemele returning to Baltimore is an interesting one, to say the least, and is something to keep an eye on as free agency approaches in just over a week.