Ranking Yanda's Contract Among NFL Guards
Marshal Yanda is arguably the best guard in the NFL right now, so General Manager Ozzie Newsome probably had to pay him the highest contract at the position, right?
Yanda could have held out for that distinction, forcing the Ravens' hand to either give him top dollar or allow him to get it elsewhere in March when he was scheduled to become a free agent. Instead, the two sides agreed last week to a four-year extension, reportedly worth $32 million, including $17.8 million in guaranteed money.
Yanda's $7.9 million average yearly salary ranks third amongst NFL guards behind the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Logan Mankins ($8.5 million per year) and Arizona Cardinals' Mike Iupati ($8 million), per Spotrac.com.
Yet Yanda grades above both higher-paid guards by Pro Football Focus, and it's not even close. Yanda is ranked the No. 1 guard with a plus-20.4 overall grade, while Mankins is No. 52 (minus-3.7) and Iupati is No. 17 (plus-6.5).
Yanda has held PFF's top spot for two years in a row now. He's been to the Pro Bowl in each of the past four seasons.
"[A]n investment in Yanda, even at the age of 31, speaks volumes about how highly the Ravens view him as a player," wrote Bleacher Report's Adam Wells. "Finding high-end talent on the offensive line is essential for any team to succeed. Yanda has been part of a Super Bowl team and will be tasked with helping turn things around into the future."
Yanda's new deal opens a little more salary cap space for Newsome. That relief mostly just provides insurance in case there is another injury, so don't expect any big signings or trades. Per Russell Street Reports' salary cap guru, Brian McFarland, the Ravens are now $3.35 million under the cap.
The new deal locks up Yanda through the 2019 season, and McFarland breaks down his contract year by year in the table below.
"Deservingly so, this deal should make Yanda a life-long Raven," wrote McFarland.
The next question that begs to be asked: How does this deal affect guard Kelechi Osemele, who is also scheduled to become a free agent in March?
"Obviously depends on the asking price - and never say never - but don't expect them to pay top $$ for two guards," tweeted McFarland.
Based on what I've read, most analysts believe Osemele will find a bigger payday elsewhere. The only person I've seen say otherwise is my colleague John Eisenberg.
"Who says one must go?" he asked back in July. "If Osemele is as effective as the Ravens expect in 2015, retaining him could become their top priority."
The Real Mistake With Breshad Perriman
Frustration has built around first-round rookie receiver Breshad Perriman now that he has missed essentially all of training camp, the entire preseason and six regular-season games and counting.
The frustration has led to some fans criticizing the Ravens for even picking Perriman in the draft or using the (way-too-early) label of "bust." But if you want to more appropriately target your frustration, WNST's Luke Jones describes what he thinks was the real mistake with Perriman.
"Newsome and the Ravens could not envision first-round pick Breshad Perriman injuring his knee on the first day of training camp, but pushing all of their chips to the middle of the table on a rookie has blown up in their faces in 2015," Jones wrote.
"Drafting Perriman wasn't the real mistake; not having any semblance of a backup plan to stretch the field was the major error when you acknowledge the history of NFL first-round receivers who haven't found immediate success on the field."
Jones called it "maddening" watching quarterback Joe Flacco stand back in the pocket and find no open receivers. While the Ravens are ranked No. 11 in the NFL in passing yards per game, they also rank No. 29 in passing yards per attempt.
Steve Smith Sr. has carried the wide receiver corps, and the next two on the depth chart – Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown – combined for just four catches and 31 yards on 105 snaps Sunday. Their low production could lead to Jeremy Ross and Chris Givens to getting more opportunities. They combined for five catches and 52 yards on 43 snaps.
Five Players Up, Five Players Down … PFF Grades
The Baltimore Sun's Jon Meoli put together his list of five players whose stock is on the rise and five that are on the decline after Sunday's loss in San Francisco. In addition, I've added the PFF grades from the game.
Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr."There's no telling how much pain he was in, or how limited the fractured bones in his back made him, but Smith solidified himself as the centerpiece of this Ravens offense. As he goes, so goes pretty much everything else. Joe Flacco constantly tries to find him in the end zone, as he's a rare Ravens receiver who can get separation and find space where it doesn't exist. It's dangerous for them to be so reliant on him — we saw that when he went out earlier this month — but what else can they do?"
Punter Sam Koch"Koch probably deserved to bask in the glow of this space last week, but I'm rectifying that today. His 62-yard boomer in the first quarter was one of two times Sunday when he reversed field position and pinned San Francisco deep in their own territory. … Sam Koch has been outstanding this year."
Wide receiver Jeremy Ross"There were plenty of targets to go around — Joe Flacco threw the ball an incomprehensible 52 times Sunday. But Jeremy Ross' three catches on five targets for 34 yards, plus his first-down run on a jet sweep, indicate he could be a big part of the offense going forward. Add in an impressive 41-yard return and he has the game-breaking ability that many think the Ravens lack. It's clear no one is very distinguished outside of Steve Smith Sr. in the receiving corps, so the path is clear for Ross to be a reliable piece."
Running back Justin Forsett"Forsett's 3.6 yards per carry isn't indicative of a good game, but he was averaging five yards per attempt in the first half and made a massive impact despite being limited by an ankle injury."
Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan"Sometimes, you have to defer to the coaches to tell us what we're seeing. In having Jernigan take back his starting role a week after playing less snaps than rookie Carl Davis, Jernigan seems to be back in their good graces."
Quarterback Joe Flacco"This was about as 2015 Joe Flacco as you can get. A couple baffling decisions and a generally inconsistent performance early, a resurgence from around the middle of the third quarter through most of the fourth quarter, but not enough juice late in the game to win it for his team. He's not really making anyone better around him, though he's not surrounded by anyone who can make him much better."
Cornerback Shareece Wright
"Wright bucked the Ravens secondary trend of having a few decent games before imploding by simply imploding in his debut."
Kicker Justin Tucker
"If there was a kicker fantasy draft, in which every NFL franchise got to choose a new kicker from the available field, I bet Justin Tucker still goes first. He's that good. But a second miss in as many weeks, this again coming because of an issue with his plant foot, was as costly as it comes."
Cornerback Jimmy Smith
"Just like Tucker's miss, this was a singular moment in an otherwise blameless game. Smith knew it after the game, and said the secondary has to play a perfect game for the Ravens to win. He almost did himself, but the difference between perfection and where he ended up was one big play."
Running back Javorius Allen
"This was a week, if there ever was one, for someone to step up behind Justin Forsett and spell him as he fought through an ankle injury. Allen didn't really get the chance, for some reason, which only really brings up questions as to how ready he is to take on a bigger role."
Joe Flacco On Dan Patrick Show
If you're not in the mood to hear funny stuff about Flacco after Sunday's two-pick performance, move along. For those that can still smile with the guy, then this interview on "The Dan Patrick Show" is for you.
Flacco was a guest on Friday, before that 49ers loss, and finally revealed the reason behind changing his now much-talked elite hair. How did he go from his traditional buzz cut to such a good-looking style?
It's nothing too glitzy. It's not like he brought in a fashion stylist to conduct a makeover or anything. The story is much more Joe Flacco-like.
"At the end of the year last year, I just hadn't had a haircut so I just had to start combing it. When we went into the offseason, it kind of just translated into a trim and a normal haircut. I just decided to keep it. I think the wife likes it and everyone else has given me some pretty good feedback."
Patrick asked Flacco if he sees himself as a funny guy.
"I don't look at myself as being very funny," Flacco said. "You see it. Not a ton of expression. I think some people laugh at me more than laugh with me."
OK, well what about Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman? Would he, for example, ever tell a joke in his headset to calm things down on the field?
"If there are any two guys less likely to tell a joke," Flacco said, "I'd like you to find them."