The Ravens are patiently waiting for Pro-Bowl offensive lineman Marshal Yanda to make a decision about retirement.
If Yanda steps away, the Ravens would add $7 million toward their salary cap, but their preference is to have him back in the fold.
"When you’re a Hall of Fame-type of guy and you’re a lineman, it’s really important to finish strong in your career, to play Hall of Fame football at the end, because that’s when everybody is watching," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "So, I’m all for him playing Hall of Fame football for another year if he so chooses, and I did tell him that. I let him know that, and we had a good hug and stuff.
"But he’ll do what’s right for his family, and whatever he does, we’ll respect it. I just couldn’t say enough good things, great things, about Marshal Yanda and his family.”
The free agent market for offensive linemen is thin and expensive. Almost every team needs help at this position.
The Ravens are currently $30. 7 million under the cap, which ranks in the bottom third of the league. As a result, they can't get into a bidding war with other teams to sign some of the top free agents, including Joe Thuney, Anthony Castonzo and Brandon Scherff,
The Ravens might have to look to the draft to add depth. However, their biggest need is still at inside linebacker and edge rusher.
Of course, the loss of Yanda could tip the scales.
Yanda has played in 177 games (166 starts), tying Jonathan Ogden's record of most games played among offensive linemen in Ravens history. Yanda's accolades include Associated Press first-team All-Pro (2014-15), Associated Press second-team All-Pro (2011-12, 2018-19), Pro Football Writers of America All-NFL (2012, 2014-15) and PFWA All-AFC (2018).
The Ravens are hopeful second-year player Ben Powers can take the next step in his development and make a bigger impact on the offensive line this upcoming season.
Nonetheless, it will be almost impossible to replace a player like Yanda. The Ravens would like to wait at least another year to deal with that challenge.