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Best of the Rest: Remaining Free Agent OL fits for the Ravens

There is still talent to be had and deals to be made for offensive linemen now that the free agency frenzy has subsided.

Kansas City Chiefs v Tennessee Titans Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The new league year officially opened up last week and after the first wave of unrestricted free agency, the open market has been picked clean of the top tier talent. However, now that the frenzy has subsided, there are still veteran players at some of the Baltimore Ravens’ positions of need that are still available and could be had on affordable deals.

Below is a list of players that fit the Ravens or could at least come in to provide depth and fill a defined role on the offensive line. The team brass vowed to upgrade and fortify the starting unit this offseason and started with the signing of Kevin Zeitler but there is still work to be done. If they end up granting two-time Pro Bowler Orlando Brown Jr. his wish and trade him to another team to play left tackle, it would open up a massive hole at right tackle.

OT Dennis Kelly – 2020 team: Tennessee Titans, 2020 stats: 16 games and 16 starts

Chicago Bears v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The nine-year veteran has been a solid spot-starter and reliable backup throughout his career. Last season was his first as a full-time starter after first-round flameout Isaiah Wilson failed to seize the Titans’ starting right tackle spot.

Kelly is accustomed to playing in a run-first offense and performed admirably, earning a respectable 65.9 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. He helped pave the way for Derrick Henry to lead the league in rushing for the second straight season and become just the eighth player in NFL history to reach the 2,000-yard threshold.

RT Rick Wagner – 2020 team: Green Bay Packers, 2020 stats: 16 games and 9 starts

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The eight-year veteran began his career in Baltimore after the Ravens drafted him in the fifth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Wisconsin. He developed into one of the best right tackles in the league by the time he hit free agency for the first time and cashed in with a big pay day from the Detroit Lions.

He performed well for Green Bay last season and earned an overall grade of 77 from PFF as a part-time starter. While he never transcended to truly elite status, he’s been an above-average starter when healthy. Even if the Ravens don’t end up trading Brown Jr, he could still serve as a serviceable swing tackle option.

RT Mitchell Schwartz – 2020 team: Kansas City Chiefs, 2020 stats: 6 games and 6 starts

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The nine-year veteran has been one of the most underrated yet still elite right tackles for most of his career and is viewed as one of the top free agents currently on the market. Even though he barely played over a quarter of a season, he earned an overall grade of 74.7 from PFF.

According to reports, he was contemplating retirements prior to his release from the Chiefs. However, if he is interested in playing in 2021 and Brown Jr. is traded before the draft, the Ravens offensive line wouldn’t miss a beat if a healthy Schwartz were signed and inserted as the starting bookend opposite of Ronnie Stanley.

C Austin Reiter – 2020 team: Kansas City Chiefs, 2020 stats: 15 games and 12 starts

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The Ravens missed out on the top veteran free agent centers and didn’t trade for Rodney Hudson when the Raiders made him available. Signing Schwartz’s former teammate in Kansas City would be a solid consolation prize who could bring both experience and stability to a shaky position on the Ravens’ roster as it currently stands.

Reiter is a natural at the position and has started 32 games in his career, including every game during the Chiefs’ Super Bowl winning 2019 season. Last season he earned a solid 70.9 overall grade from PFF and could likely be signed to a cheap short-term contract.

RT Cameron Fleming – 2020 team: New York Giants, 2020 stats: 16 games and 16 starts

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The seven-year veteran had been a career backup prior to last season with only 26 combined starts from 2014-2019 between the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys. The Giants had one of the worst pass-blocking units in the league last year and Fleming’s 58.4 overall PFF grade was reflective of that.

While he would in no way be an upgrade or even comparable replacement for Brown Jr. if he were to get traded, he would, however, provide experienced depth at offensive tackle in 2021 after they had none in 2020. Fleming won’t cost much and will likely be on the open market after the draft when signing unrestricted free agents don’t count against the compensatory formula.

C Joe Looney – 2020 team: Dallas Cowboys, 2020 stats: 13 games and 12 starts

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The nine-year veteran possesses the positional versatility that the Ravens like in their interior offensive linemen to play both guard and center. He’s been a backup for most of his career but a serious injury to five-time Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick opened the door for his first extended opportunity in 2018 where he started 16 games.

Looney returned to a backup role the following year but after Fredrick retired in the 2020 offseason, he was called upon to start at center again after beating out rookie Tyler Biadasz in training camp.

He didn’t perform all that well last year as the Cowboys offense as a whole woefully underwhelmed after Dak Prescott went down for the year but he has experience playing in a strong rushing offense and could be still be a decent contingency plan come training camp.

RT Demar Dotson – 2020 team: Denver Broncos, 2020 stats: 8 games and 8 starts

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The 35-year old is certainly the most seasoned option on this list and has over a decade of starting experience as a 12-year veteran with 114 career starts under his belt, all of which have been at right tackle. He struggled with injuries last season but still managed to earn a 70.8 overall grade from PFF in half a season’s worth of work.

Dotson would be a good stop-gap starter for one year in the event that Brown Jr. is traded and the team doesn’t feel comfortable starting a rookie right away. He signed a one-year deal with Denver last year for just $1.5 million and likely won’t command anything more than that considering his age and the fact that he is coming off an injury.