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The Ravens could find themselves with some depth issues on the offensive line if they don’t address all positions this offseason.
At this point, starting guard Chris Chester and tackle Marshal Yanda are both scheduled to become restricted free agents. Meanwhile the jury is still out as to what the Ravens will do regarding tackle Jared Gaither.
In addition, center Matt Birk, a 13-year veteran, is another year older and has said he must make a decision about retirement.
So whether it is inside or on the edge, the Ravens will be looking at centers, guards and tackles in the coming months.
Here is a look at who could be available on the free-agent front:
Note: Until there’s a new collective bargaining agreement, the Ravens can only re-sign their own players or assign them tenders. If there is a work stoppage, free agency will be postponed. Until further notice, Baltimore is operating under the 2010 free agency rules, which doesn’t grant unrestricted free agency until a player has at least six years in the league. That could change with a new agreement and make veterans with at least four years in the NFL unrestricted.
OT – Matt Light, New England Patriots
Unrestricted; 6-foot-4, 305 pounds; 10 years
Light started all 16 games for the Patriots’ prolific offense, but was criticized for struggling with pass blocking for quarterback Tom Brady, who was sacked 25 times this year. Still, Light was named an injury replacement at the Pro Bowl last month. Light has been a reliable veteran since the Patriots selected him in the second round out of Purdue in 2001.
(Upside – Experience; Downside – Pass blocking)
OT Jammal Brown, Washington Redskins
Unrestricted; 6-foot-6, 313 pounds; 6 years
Brown, a Pro Bowler in 2006 and 2008, was acquired before the 2010 season began in a trade with the New Orleans Saints. The former left tackle switched to the right side with Washington starting rookie Trent Williams on the left. Brown missed 2009 with a sports hernia and seemed to struggle with it early in his Redskins tenure, but recovered well down the stretch.
(Upside – Versatility; Downside – Injuries)
G Logan Mankins, New England Patriots
Unrestricted; 6-foot-4, 310 pounds; 6 years
With Mankins holding down the interior of the Patriots’ line, New England got solid rushing efforts out of Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead towards the end of the season. Mankins only played in nine games, however, because of a contract holdout. Reports out of New England say that Mankins will get slapped with the franchise tag.
(Upside – Reliability; Downside – Price)
G Davin Joseph, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Restricted; 6-foot-3, 313 pounds; 5 years
It won’t be easy to pry Joseph away from the Bucs, as the five-year veteran was one of their top linemen until he broke his foot 11 games into the season. Another possible candidate for the franchise tag, Joseph would command a hefty price if he hits the open market. Joseph is talented at both run and pass blocking.
(Upside – Youth; Downside – Price)
C Ryan Kalil, Carolina Panthers
Restricted; 6-foot-2, 295 pounds; 4 years
Kalil was a big reason Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams rushed for 2,600 yards from 2008-09, and he’s been one of Carolina’s most consistent players, even in a down 2010 campaign. Kalil doesn’t possess the heft that many centers need in the AFC North when facing the division’s huge defensive tackles.
(Upside – Youth; Downside – Size)