The Baltimore Ravens lost a key piece of their offensive juggernaut on Tuesday with the , a seven-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler.
The team still has plenty of weapons, of course, starting with MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. But Yanda’s departure leaves a sizable void in the trenches, where Baltimore relied so much on his durability and production to power one of the NFL‘s top rushing attacks.
Fortunately for the Ravens, it won’t be long until the front office has opportunities to pursue Yanda’s replacement. Doing so without experiencing a drop-off at the position is going to be a challenge, but there are a number of options nonetheless. Baltimore isn’t overflowing with salary cap space, but it’s also not hurting for cash, entering this week with an estimated $38 million to spend in 2020, then gaining roughly another $7 million from Yanda’s departure.
Here are five of the Ravens’ best options at RG as we approach 2020 free agency:
Joe Thuney, New England Patriots: The Pats have quite a few big names to take care of this offseason (see: Brady, Tom), and that’s the only reason the 27-year-old Thuney could be available. He’s hands-down the best interior blocker on the market, and he’ll command a big payday. But if the Ravens are bent on nabbing a sure fix rather than a hopeful one at RG, he’s probably worth the dough. A former All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion, Thuney is a career left guard, but that shouldn’t matter too much. The Ravens could either rearrange their own line or move him, as he’s been heralded for his positional versatility.
Brandon Scherff, Washington Redskins: If he weren’t a , he’d probably surpass Thuney as the top OG available, even with his recent injury history (13 missed games since 2018). Because when healthy, Scherff has been one of the game’s steadiest interior starters, earning three Pro Bowl nods over the last four years. All that’s to say if he actually finds a way to free agency, the Ravens would be wise to take the big-money gamble and plug him in as a Day One top-tier RG.
Graham Glasgow, Detroit Lions: The 27-year-old veteran hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention ahead of free agency, but he’s all but a guarantee to test the market following lukewarm negotiations with Detroit. And just because the Lions haven’t ponied up for an extension doesn’t mean he’s not worth pursuing. The former third-round draft pick has played almost every position on the line, he’s only missed two games in his four-year career, and he’s coming off a well-graded 2019 on an otherwise bad Lions offense. If the Ravens want a dependable, versatile starter that may not break the bank, he’s their guy.
Netane Muti, Fresno State: The Ravens pick 28th in the 2020 draft, and they aren’t loaded with ammunition for trades up, so with needs at wide receiver, linebacker and pass rusher, their best bet at unearthing OG help from this year’s rookie class might be in the second and third rounds. Muti, a former defensive lineman, has injury concerns but is an immediate starter talent-wise, according to CBS Sports draft writer Josh Edwards, and could be capable of taking Yanda’s spot on Opening Day.
Robert Hunt, Louisiana: A four-year starter who moved from LG to RT in a run-heavy offense in 2019, Hunt is another second- or third-round target who’s got the makings of a “really special” interior player, according to Edwards. While his transition could take coaching and time, it’s not as if he’s never started on the inside before, and if/when he gets a feel for a full-time OG role in the NFL, his attributes project extremely well to Baltimore’s line, which would be tasked with fueling plenty of ground game.