With just one spot to fill on their 90 man roster before training camp, the Ravens filled it and got some depth on the offensive line.
On Tuesday afternoon the Ravens agreed to terms with 31-year old veteran tackle Jake Long. The deal is said to be for one year, and the figures have not been announced publicly.
Even though an agreement has been made between Long and the Ravens, no signing is official. Tonight Long is flying to Baltimore and will meet with the Ravens front office on Wednesday and will take a physical. If all goes well, the deal should be made official.
Long was the first overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. Selected by the Miami Dolphins out of the University of Michigan, Long is a four-time Pro Bowler and a 2010 First team All-Pro. He spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Dolphins, and after the 2012 season he became a free agent. Miami offered Long a contract extension, but the Pro Bowl tackle signed a four-year, $34 million contract with the Rams.
Long’s career with the Rams was derailed by injuries. He suffered two ACL tears to the same knee in a 10 month time frame. The Rams released Long at the start of the 2015 free agency period, and he was not signed by another team until September. The Atlanta Falcons signed Long to a one year deal, but Long never made a start, only playing in four games.
On Saturday, Long spoke to ESPN and gave an update on his knee.
“In finally healthy,” Long Said. This is the healthiest and best that I’ve felt in probably five, six years. My knee is back.”
Long also expressed his excitement of joining the Ravens on Twitter after the news broke:
Should the deal become official on Wednesday, Long’s arrival will bring some stability to the Ravens’ offensive line. Their expected starting tackles are rookie Ronnie Stanley at left tackle and fourth-year man Ricky Wagner at right. Wagner had a down-year after a solid 2014 season, and no one knows of what to expect of Stanley. If either Stanley or Wagner struggles or gets injured, the Ravens will have a four-time Pro Bowler on the bench ready to fill in.
Keep in mind that the Ravens lost Joe Flacco to a torn ACL last year after backup tackle James Hurst was pushed over and fell on Flacco’s leg. There was also the Eugene Monroe saga that ended with the Ravens parting ways with Monroe before he eventually retired.
Left tackle had long been the Ravens strongest position on offense when they had Hall-of-Famer Jonathan Ogden protecting the quarterback’s blind side. Since then, the Ravens have drafted and brought in several free agents in an effort to try to fill Ogden’s shoes, but the experiences have not yet yielded the type of results the Ravens have been looking for.
The hope is for Stanley to be the left-tackle of the future, but if this year goes wrong for Stanley the Ravens have some insurance with Jake Long on the roster.