Late For Work 12/18: Kelechi Osemele May Further Price Himself Out Of Ravens' Range


Osemele May Further Price Himself Out Of Ravens' Range

Does Kelechi Osemele's audition at left tackle make him more or less likely to re-sign with the Ravens as an unrestricted free agent this offseason?

The common consensus among Baltimore media has been that, as a guard, Osemele would get a big payday on the market that the Ravens just couldn't match. General Manager Ozzie Newsomealready committed a hefty contract to right guard Marshal Yanda, and the cash-strapped Ravens can't pay two guards top dollar.

Moving Osemele to left tackle has raised the possibility of him staying. The media's thinking is that the Ravens could cut the oft-injured Eugene Monroe and commit money to Osemele instead.

There are at least two obstacles to this perhaps overly-simplistic solution.

First, cutting Monroe would reportedly only open up $2.1 million in salary cap space and would also create $6.6 million in dead money. That's a lot of dead money.

"[I]t's hardly a formality that the Ravens will go that direction," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.

Second, it would be a double-edged sword if Osemele excels at the position over the next three weeks. If he proves to Baltimore that he can play left tackle, he'd also be proving it to the entire NFL.

"Monroe's ongoing injury issues have created a clear need, but if Osemele excels at left tackle, he could distance himself even further from the Ravens' price range," wrote Zrebiec.

"He already was in line to earn a nice contract as one of the top available guards, but his experience playing left tackle figures to increase his market and perhaps his asking price. … If Osemele plays well over the next couple of weeks, keeping him will only be more difficult."

Want to know the pay difference between a guard and left tackle? The average pay for the top-10 left tackles in the league is $10.75 million, according to The top-10 guards' average pay is $3 million less at $7.04 million.

That said, there's really no downside for the Ravens to continue their experiment if they were already sure they couldn't offer him a guard deal to keep him in town.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Osemele more than held his own against the Seahawks' formidable pass rush duo of Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril. He'll get another big test from Kansas City's Tamba Hali this week.

"I think it's absolutely a smart move," Ross Tucker, an analyst for NBCSN and SiriusXM NFL Radio, told Zrebiec.

"They already know what he is as a guard, and what value he provides there, and everybody in the league knows, too. His guard value isn't going to go down if he plays bad at tackle. The Ravens are giving him a chance to make more money, whether it's with them or somebody else."

The Picks Are In: Chiefs vs. Ravens

For the second week in a row, analysts are on the same page.

Last week, all 58 pundits below predicted a Seahawks win, and they were proven right with a lopsided 35-6 result. Why stray from the formula?

They didn't. All 58 picked the Chiefs to win Sunday.

Some say there's a chance for the Chiefs to be lulled into a false sense of security and perform at a lower level after watching Baltimore get blown out last week. It would be a classis trap game. But's Mike Florio doesn't see that happening.

"For a trap game to be a trap game, the trap has to be sufficiently potent to operate as a trap. The Ravens are missing the spring, and the cheese has gone rancid," wrote Florio.


Schaub Returns, But Doesn't Look Comfortable

For the first time since getting knocked around in Miami, quarterback Matt Schaub returned as a full participant in practice. That's a good sign for the 34-year-old quarterback, but the way he practiced wasn't a good sign.

In the portion of practice open to the media, several journalists commented on how uncomfortable Schaub looked while throwing passes to his wide receivers and tight ends.

"The bad news is Schaub's movements looked rather labored, and his accuracy wasn't good, and that was during the early slower-speed periods," wrote Press Box's Joe Platania.

Jimmy Clausen has taken more repetitions than Schaub during practice, and newly-signed Ryan Mallett is simply trying to learn the offense.

More Proof Of Bizarre Season: Chiefs Sign Jah Reid To Three-Year Deal

During the same week he will play against the team that drafted him, Jah Reid signed a three-year extension with the Kansas City Chiefs reportedly worth $10.2 million.

Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid heaped praise upon his offensive lineman when talking with Baltimore media, and the new deal shows it wasn't just coach-speak.

Reid has made eight starts at right tackle for Kansas City this year, but Pro Football Focus* *ranks him as the 59th best player at the position.

"It's hardly been a campaign of brilliance by the former Ravens blocker, but he gives Kansas City a depth injection and someone they can trust to fill in as needed," wrote NFL Media's Marc Sessler. "Still, the Chiefs see something to like in the fifth-year blocker and made that clear with their wallet Thursday. It will be a merry Christmas in the Reid household."

Reid was a 2011 third-round draft pick for Baltimore, but he never lived up to expectations, was often injured and the team released him in September.

Harbaugh Bumped From Exclusive Coaching Club

Until this season, Head Coach John Harbaugh was a member of an exclusive head coaching club.

He was one of four NFL coaches to win a Super Bowl and not have a losing season. But the loss against the Seahawks last Sunday ensured that Harbaugh will endure his first losing season, and the list of coaches dwindled to three: Vince Lombardi, John Madden and Mike Tomlin.

"[B]ut this season presented some unique circumstances that Lombardi and Madden never had to face," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley.

"Harbaugh lost his starting quarterback, his No. 1 wide receiver, his Pro Bowl running back, his top left tackle, his first-round pick and the franchise's all-time sacks leader to season-ending injuries. The Ravens lost a game that the NFL acknowledged was decided by an officiating error. And Baltimore became the first team in NFL history to have its first 12 games decided by eight points or fewer."

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