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Who's Out There? Offensive Tackles


The Ravens offensive line was in flux throughout the 2012 season.

The unit had four players start at left guard, Michael Oher alternated between right and left tackle, and center Matt Birk was the only lineman to start every game at the same position. Veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie regained his starting job in the playoffs and helped solidify the line, but now he's an unrestricted free agent.

The Ravens could try to bring back McKinnie, or could look at some of the other options on the deep free agent market.

Here are some of the players the Ravens might consider:

LT/RT Sebastian Vollmer, New England PatriotsUnrestricted (5th season); 28 years old; 6-foot-8, 320 pounds
2012 season: 15 starts
In his four seasons with the Patriots, Vollmer started 44 games and showed versatility with his ability to play both right and left tackle. He's been a consistent performer and is one of the top tackles set to hit the market. (Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady isn't included on this list because he will get franchised before becoming a free agent). Vollmer is entering the prime of his career, and he could end up getting a big deal, which could make him difficult for the Ravens to afford.

LT Jake Long, Miami Dolphins
Unrestricted (5th season); 27; 6-7, 319
2012 season: 12 starts
Long was once regarded as one of the top left tackles in the game, but he's coming off a pair of injury-prone seasons and the Dolphins appear ready to let him walk. Despite some recent struggles, the veteran left tackle has started 74 games during his five seasons with the Dolphins and would still be a starter for most teams in the NFL. The former No. 1 overall pick is expected to get a lot of money, and that's something the Ravens don't have with their current salary cap situation.

LT Will  Beatty, New York GiantsUnrestricted (5th season); 27; 6-6, 319
2012 season: 15 starts
The former second-round pick took over the Giants left tackle spot this season after playing behind David Diehl for his first three years  in the NFL.  Beatty had a solid year in his first full season as a starter, and he could now be set to cash in as a free agent. The Giants view Beatty as one of their top offseason priorities, so he may not even hit the open market before they sign him to a new deal.

RT Gosder Cherilus, Detroit Lions
Unrestricted (6th season); 28; 6-7, 325
2012 season: 16 starts
The veteran* *has been a starting right tackle in Detroit for the last five seasons, starting 71 games over that stretch. Unlike some of the other free agents on the market who have played both right and left tackle, Cherilus has spent his entire professional career on the right side. If the Ravens brought him in, that would likely cement Oher at left tackle and Kelechi Osemele at left guard.

LT Jermon Bushrod, New Orleans Saints
Unrestricted (7th season); 28; 6-5, 315
2012 season: 16 starts
The former Towson Tiger has been the Saints starting left tackle for the last four seasons after getting picked in the fourth round of the 2007 draft. He's coming off two straight Pro Bowl seasons and has been one of the anchors on the Saints offensive line. If the Saints let Bushrod walk, then it would be interesting to see if he has interest in returning to Baltimore where he played college ball.

Winston Justice, Indianapolis ColtsUnrestricted (8th season); 28; 6-6, 317
2012 season: 12 starts
In his first season with the Colts, Justice moved into the starting role after an up-and-down time during his six years in Philadelphia. Justice would be a bargain tackle, which might be exactly what the Ravens need based on their cap situation.

Other Notable Names:

  • King Dunlap, Philadelphia Eagles
  • Sam Baker, Atlanta Falcons
  • Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Andre Smith, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Ryan Harris, Houston Texans
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