Yanda's Extension Helps Bolster Hall of Fame Case
Any speculation surrounding Marshal Yanda's immediate playing future was silenced after the Pro Bowl guard agreed in principle to a one-year contract extension Thursday.
Yanda's new deal keeps him in Baltimore through the 2020 season, but could his final destination be in Canton, Ohio as a Pro Football Hall of Famer?
"If Yanda continues to play at a high level for the next two years, it will increase his candidacy for Canton," ESPN's Jamison Hensley wrote.
"On the field, Marshal Yanda is quiet and lets his play do the talking for him," Ebony Bird's Richard Bradshaw wrote. "While being far from a gentle giant, Yanda is certainly not someone you want to go up against on every snap.
"It's all of these attributes that will one day lead Yanda into Canton and join some of his former teammates in the Pro Football Hall of Fame."
According to Pro Football Focus, Yanda is the league's second highest-graded guard (92.7) with at least 5,000+ snaps since 2006.
Best known for his dominance at guard, Yanda has also excelled at multiple positions on the offensive line.
Having said that, it's extremely tough to get into the Hall of Fame as a guard. Only 20 guards have been enshrined in NFL history. Steve Hutchison, Alan Faneca, and Tony Boselli failed to make the 2019 class.
Former Green Bay Packer great Jerry Kramer, who retired in 1968, was the last guard to be enshrined (2018 class).
"Because Yanda plays one of the league's least glamorous and celebrated positions, it's tough to evaluate his chances of eventually being enshrined in Canton, Ohio. He's been one of the top guards in the sport for nearly a decade. He's regarded as one of the toughest players to ever wear a Ravens uniform. He's been on a Super Bowl winner," The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec wrote.
"Whether that will be enough is unclear. What is obvious, though, is that if Yanda plays two more seasons at a reasonably high level, his Hall of Fame chances will only increase — not that personal honors have ever been his motivation."
Yanda will have at least two more seasons to strengthen his resume, and he'll continue to serve as a key component in the run game under Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman.
Gil Brandt Pairs Under-the-Radar Receiver Prospect With Ravens
There's a good chance the Ravens will select one or more receivers in the upcoming NFL Draft.
NFL Network's Gil Brandt, who General Manager Eric DeCosta grew up idolizing, picked the best team fits for the top five wide receiver prospects and South Carolina's Deebo Samuel landed with the Ravens.
"The Ravens continue to seek stability at receiver after saying goodbye to veterans John Brown and Michael Crabtree, leaving Willie Snead and Chris Moore as the top two wideouts on the roster," Brandt wrote.
"Samuel is a very physical wide receiver who boasts good concentration and quickness, as you could see in his 210-yard effort against Clemson in 2018. The South Carolina product also excels at keeping his feet in-bounds while making catches along the sidelines. He's strong and fast, has a history of being productive and he can return kicks, having set a school record with four kick-return touchdowns."
Samuel totaled career highs in receptions (62), receiving yards (882) and touchdowns (11) in his senior season with the Gamecocks. He doubled as a dynamic return threat, one of the best in the SEC in 2018.
NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein compared Samuel to Rams' Pro Bowl returner Pharoh Cooper.
"Samuel is also very athletic, as he showed at the combine, where he was able to post a respectable 4.48-second time in the 40-yard dash along with an outstanding 39-inch vertical leap," SB Nation's Stephen Write wrote. "At his height, I don't know that Samuel will be a big back-shoulder fade guy in the NFL, but he did show the ability to go up and catch contested balls.
"Whatever role you need him to play, Samuel can fit right in. Besides, with Samuel's superior run-after-the-catch ability, you basically just want to find a way to feed him the football, anyway. That includes jet sweeps and end-arounds, by the way."
Most draft analysts project Samuel as an early second-round pick. The Ringer's Danny Kelly has Samuel taken by Packers at pick No. 30 in his latest mock draft. That will bode well for the Ravens if they trade back in the first round.
Another Comp Pick on the Way? Likely Not
The free-agent market has calmed down significantly over the past few weeks, but former Ravens running back Ty Montgomery found a home with the New York Jets.
It was potentially good news for General Manager Eric DeCosta and the front office because it meant another comp pick could be on the way.
Alas, the details on the contract came out this morning and it's not good for the Ravens.
Based on OverTheCap's compensatory pick cancellation chart, the Ravens are projected to receive a 2020 third-round pick following Za'Darius Smith's deal with the Green Bay Packers. The addition of Earl Thomas cancels out compensation for the loss of C.J. Mosley. Justin Bethel wipes out the loss of Terrell Suggs and Mark Ingram would eliminate Montgomery's signing if it qualified. That would mean John Brown's multi-year deal with the Buffalo Bills would net the Ravens an additional fourth-round pick.
Any other unrestricted free-agent signings before the May 8 deadline could factor into the compensatory formula. The Ravens still have defensive end Brent Urban, tight end Maxx Williams and running back Javorius Allen as unrestricted free agents who could qualify.
Cameron Jordan Behind Mark Ingram's Free-Agent Decision '100 Percent'
Mark Ingram's decision to sign a three-year deal with the Ravens as a free agent reportedly left Saints Head Coach Sean Payton frustrated with how things played out.
Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan joined NFL Network's "Up to the Minute" and backed his former teammate's free-agent decision.
"That's somebody who I've played with for eight years," Jordan said. "I'm never going to want anything but the best for my guy and if he saw fit that [Baltimore] was the best decision for him, that's where we have to take it. We've talked about it numerous times … So for him to go to the Ravens, that's the decision that came upon it. That's something that I'm going to be behind my guy 100 percent."
Ingram and Jordan, two former first-round picks, were drafted together by the Saints in 2011 and spent the next eight seasons together in New Orleans.
Jordan continually praised Ingram's talent and veteran locker room presence.
The Ravens and Saints won't meet in the regular season this year, but Jordan hopes a potential Super Bowl matchup is looming.
"I wish he still was in a Saints jersey so he'd have this ring we're going to have on next year," Jordan said. "But if we have to face him in the Super Bowl, I think he's got the talent to help Lamar Jackson out there and really push him to that next level."