'Very Curious' To See McKinnie's Effort Now
The re-singing of left tackle Bryant McKinnie is considered to be yet another strong move by Ravens executives this offseason, following a temporary fan scare induced by the departure of several veterans.
"So ... about that really rough offseason the Ravens were having ..." NFL.com's Albert Breer sarcastically tweeted after the McKinnie announcement.
And judging by teammates' tweets (see quick hits below), the players love that the 6-foot-8, 360 pounder will be back after playing a big role in protecting quarterback Joe Flacco during his historic Super Bowl run.
And even though there is plenty to celebrate about this move, it doesn't come without its questions and concerns.
"The return of Bryant McKinnie at left tackle should give the Ravens nice depth on the line. The key now is McKinnie's effort in conditioning," tweeted WBAL's Gerry Sandusky.
"VERY curious to see how B. McKinnie plays now that he got his $, ring, & no more Ed Reed/Ray Lewis in Baltimore," added NBC Sports' Ross Tucker.
The Ravens aren't oblivious to the concerns* *and the reported terms of his deal indicate that.
McKinnie can make up to $7 million over the next two years, as his contract includes incentive clauses and workout bonuses, according to The Baltimore Sun's Aaron Wilson.
It is speculated that weight and conditioning issues were part of the reason he didn't start a single regular-season game last year and his salary was reduced by a reported $1 million. But McKinnie kicked into gear by the end of the year, and he has enormous size and ridiculous talent. He ate up some of the league's best pass rushers throughout the playoffs, when it mattered most.
"I hope this guy really realizes his potential because he has held talent hostage," said Comcast Sportsnet's Rick Walker. "He has a chance to be one of the great ones."
While there are still concerns, ESPN's Jamison Hensley believes the Ravens made the right decision in bringing McKinnie back because he's the best option available compared to Kelechi Osemele and Michael Oher.
"In the end, the Ravens decided the reward outweighs the risk when it comes to McKinnie," Hensley wrote. "There's definitely some risk involved with McKinnie because of past weight and work-ethic issues. It's hard to forget that he didn't show up for the start of training camp because of back problems and he never personally called the Ravens to inform them of his absence.
"Still, when you're looking to protect a $120 million quarterback in Joe Flacco, the choice had to be McKinnie."
And despite their rocky history, it seemed both sides wanted to be reunited.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Chargers and Dolphins – who both made offers to McKinnie – felt all along that the 33-year-old veteran wanted to stay in Baltimore. He had a good visit with San Diego, but negotiations "never got off the ground."
As for the Ravens, Hensley believes they would have liked to wait a little longer before re-signing McKinnie so that they could get a chance to see over the next six weeks whether Osemele really could have handled the left tackle spot.
"If [Osemele] struggled, then they could have reached out to McKinnie," Hensley wrote. "But the interest from the Dolphins and Chargers forced the Ravens to make a decision. Of all the options available, the Ravens made the right choice."
Did Oher Help McKinnie Get Re-Signed?
Even though left tackles make more money than right tackles, Oher doesn't seem to have a problem with getting pushed back to the right side now that McKinnie is officially back on board.
Rather, it seems as though Oher had a hand in helping get the deal done.
Check out the string of tweets between the two offensive linemen after the deal was struck:
@MichaelOher: @BryantMckinnie glad you back bro so you can stop posting these other teams!!!
@BryantMckinnie: lol i see u went up there & put down lol
@MichaelOher: I was just passing word back and [forth] I had nothing to do with nothing!
@BryantMckinnie: thought i was gonna have to give u my agent fee lol
@MichaelOher: only need .8
6 of 10 Ravens Draft Picks Signed
With all the Ravens rookies arriving in Owings Mills yesterday, it appears Ravens brass got straight to business.
By the end of the day, the team got six of 10 rookie contracts signed. Here are the details, per Wilson:
- FB Kyle Juszczyk (Harvard, 4th Round): Four years, $2.46 million
- G/T Rick Wagner (Wisconsin, 5th Round): Four years, $2.3 million
- DE Kapron Lewis-Moore (Notre Dame, 6th Round): Four years, $2.25 million
- C Ryan Jensen (CSU-Pueblo, 6th Round): Four years, $2.24 million
- WR Aaron Mellette (Elon, 7th Round): Four years, $2.21 million
- CB Marc Anthony (Cal, 7th Round): Four years, $2.21 million
Jacoby Jones vs. Warren Sapp Dance-Off
If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, you grouch, this will surely put a smile on your face. If this doesn't work, I don't know what will.
Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones took a break from "Dancing With The Stars" rehearsals to visit NFL Network studios and chat about how fellow NFL players voted him the 88th-best player from 2012.
Network analyst Warren Sapp, who was the runner-up on Season 7, helped spice things up by participating in a dance-off with Jones. Too funny!
As for the honor of making the Top 100 list, Jones was most grateful.
"I could have been 100 and a half," he said. "If I made the list, that's a blessing. I came from the bottom [and] I made the list. I'll take it."
Best Fit For Dansby? Baltimore
The Ravens traded up to get Kansas State linebacker Arthur Brown in the second round of the draft last weekend. They also signed Rolando McClain, and Jameel McClain is on target to return from his spinal cord contusion for training camp.
Still, NFL.com's Chris Wesseling believes that free agent linebacker Karlos Dansby's “best fit” would be in Baltimore as an insurance policy in case Jameel McClain doesn't fully recover in time.
"Dansby led the Miami Dolphins in tackles last season while playing through a torn biceps muscle," Wesseling wrote. "Although he's a bit of a liability in coverage and no longer makes big plays at the rate he once did, Dansby remains stout against the run. Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain has yet to be medically cleared after suffering a scary spinal cord contusion in December. Dansby would offer premium insurance next to rookie Arthur Brown."
Rice Attends Gov. O'Malley's Cyberbullying Bill
Ravens running back Ray Rice was in Annapolis yesterday to support Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley's signing of a cyberbullying bill known as "Grace's Law."
The bill is named after 15-year-old Grace McComas, who committed suicide after being bullied online. The issue is dear to Rice's heart.
"It was important to me to come here for Grace's Law," Rice told your4state.com. "After I heard the family's tragic story, I was thinking how could we attack bullying, whether it's cyberbullying or anti-bullying."
@JameelMcClain: Best day of my life the king @BryantMckinnie is back n the building.. Say it's so [Twitter] * @TorreySmithWR: RT @Ravens: LT Bryant McKinnie will be back in Baltimore for his third season with the Ravens....YESSSSS [Twitter] * @TorreySmithWR: Welcome back @BryantMckinnie !!!! Well you never really left haha [Twitter] * @evansilva NBC Sports]: Don't forget #Ravens were 17th in defense last year. That D was not good. Ozzie reloaded and I think [they'll return to top 5-8 this season. [Twitter] * @RossTuckerNFL: Somebody tell Ravens 1st RD pick Matt Elam that I'll negotiate his contract for $500. He doesn't have an agent. [Twitter] * @AlbertBreer: There's a surprise in the Top 100 -- Jacoby Jones over Cameron Wake ... Can't agree with that one. [Twitter] * @RavensInsider: Ravens' salary-cap update: $3.845 million available. Will be $5.845 million post June 1 when Bernard Pollard cap charge is off the books [Twitter] * I'm a sucker for this stuff … cute couple … @TorreySmithWR: Never would've thought I'd be in the situation I am today...some folks spend a lifetime trying to find what I've been lucky and blessed with in a relationship … 7-11 she'll be stuck with me forever. [Twitter] * And since I'm sharing cute tweets … @Artj97: Best big brother in the world! [Twitter]