For the time being, it appears that veteran offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva’s first season with the Baltimore Ravens was his last in the league. The team announced his placement on the Reserve/Retired List on Wednesday.
After starting every game for the Ravens in 2021, OT Alejandro Villanueva has decided to retire after a seven-year NFL career.https://t.co/Pq2txd0aev— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) March 9, 2022
The Ravens signed him last offseason to a two-year deal worth $14 million and $8 million fully guaranteed. His decision to retire frees up $6 million in cap space for the Ravens and ends a seven-year career that was spent entirely in the AFC North. He originally signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after he came into the league as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Army.
Villanueva spent the first six years of his playing career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he earned two Pro Bowl bids as a left tackle and started 90 of the 96 games he appeared in. The 33-year-old was initially brought in by the Ravens to replace the traded Orlando Brown Jr. at right tackle but wound up playing all but one game at the blindside spot.
The setback suffered by Ronnie Stanley in the rehabilitation of his surgically repaired ankle allowed Villanueva to stay at his natural position for his final season. Even though he had an up and down season in terms of his performance, he was extremely durable on a team that was ravaged by injuries and was a strong veteran presence on and off the field.
Prior to coming to the league, Villanueva served in the military, where he was deployed to Afghanistan three times and was earned a Bronze Star Medal for rescuing his fellow soldiers after they were wounded while under enemy fire.
The Ravens were rumored and expected to move in from him this offseason and will be looking to upgrade and fortify their offensive line this offseason. Offensive tackle in particular is an area that will be prioritized in the draft no matter what they do in free agency.