Free agency is often thrown for a loop by teams unexpectedly releasing players that were otherwise under contract. This happened yesterday when the Las Vegas Raiders parted ways with veteran C Rodney Hudson.
Hudson, 31, has been the Raiders’ starting center since 2015. Hudson joins a few other veteran players that Las Vegas has parted ways with this offseason. They appear to be shifting in a different organizational direction or perhaps gearing up for a bigger move.
Regardless, Hudson is now one of the biggest names on the free agent market. Speculation began almost immediately yesterday afternoon as to whether or not the Ravens should make a play to sign him.
Here is some perspective from both sides of the argument. Chime in below with your own thoughts and vote on the poll at the end of the article!
The case FOR signing him —
Hudson is one of the best centers in the NFL. Since 2015, his PFF pass-blocking grade of 93.6 ranks first at the position. He’s made the Pro Bowl three times during this same span and was named a second-team All-Pro selection in 2019.
While he did neither of these things last year, Hudson still played at a high level for a Raiders offense that exceeded expectations. If Hudson joined the Ravens, he would instantly provide a massive upgrade at the center position.
An acquisition of Hudson would allow the Ravens to keep Bradley Bozeman at left guard, where he’s started 32 consecutive games, as well as plug recent signee Kevin Zeitler at his natural position of right guard. Together, these three would form a borderline-dominant trio along the interior of the offensive line.
Compound that with two bookend tackles in Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr., and you have the makings of perhaps the best offensive line in the NFL. Take Brown Jr. out of the picture and even still the Ravens would have a high-ranking group.
Improving the offensive line was arguably priority No. 1 of the offseason. Signing Zeitler was a big step in the right direction. Hudson, though, would elevate the Ravens’ offensive line from a good/great group to an elite one. That’s how you protect your franchise quarterback.
The case AGAINST signing him —
Hudson is a luxury rather than a necessity. Very few teams in the NFL field an offensive line with five above-average and/or surefire starters. The Buccaneers and Browns are the only examples that come to mind in the league today. Right now, the Ravens have two Pro Bowl tackles and two above-average lineman in the starting lineup.
A five-man group of Ronnie Stanley, Bradley Bozeman, Kevin Zeitler, Orlando Brown Jr., and whoever emerges between Ben Powers, Tyre Phillips, and Ben Bredeson would have the makings of a Top-5 offensive line in the NFL. If Brown Jr. is traded, they can use the draft to replace him with a high-end right tackle and still have a strong overall group.
Hudson would elevate the unit, yes, but the Ravens should focus on addressing more pressing needs. They have one of the worst wide receiving cores in the league and have yet to sign a wideout in free agency. They could also stand to sign another edge rusher, as they only have three under contract after re-signing Tyus Bowser.
As a top-tier center on the market, Hudson’s value is likely around or north of $10 million. The remaining cap space Baltimore has would be better served on signing a wide receiver or edge rusher — or maybe even supplementing the secondary with another safety.
Hudson would be an overinvestment on the interior offensive line, where the Ravens just signed Zeitler to a three-year deal and have drafted a handful of mid-round players over the past several years. Let the in-house options fill out the fifth starting spot on the o-line.
Should the Ravens pursue Rodney Hudson?
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