Can the Baltimore Ravens sign Ryan Jensen? What price is too much? These questions are explored here:
Many Ravens’ fans want the team to re-sign starting center Ryan Jensen, including me. I want the Ravens to build the best offensive line in football and I think re-signing Jensen helps in that regard. However, Baltimore has shown their willingness to let offensive lineman walk. They let Kelechi Osemele walk for a huge contract in Oakland after the 2015 season.. Then, last season they let Rick Wagner walk for a wealthy contract in Detroit.
Ryan Jensen was a revelation last season. I honestly don’t think he got the credit he deserved all the time. Baltimore lost their whole offensive line outside of Ronnie Stanley. They lost Alex Lewis and Marshal Yanda to injury, Jeremy Zuttah was traded, and Wagner left in free agency. Jensen stepped in and won the center job and was magnificent all year. He made the guards look better than they actually were, and he brought an attitude on the offensive line the Ravens needed.
Other needs could dictate what the Ravens do:
Unfortunately, Jensen is a free agent, and he will demand a good amount of money. It is possible he gets around $10 million per year, and Baltimore doesn’t have a lot of cap space. We also know that the team desperately needs play-makers on offense. The front office hasn’t shown they are good at drafting them, so free agency might be the best answer.
If Baltimore is to go after guys like Jarvis Landry, Allen Robinson, or Paul Richardson, they will need cap space. That is when they will need to make a decision: do they want to rely on the draft for wide receivers and keep Jensen to ensure a great offensive line for next season, or do they gamble and let him move on while we go after some of the bigger receivers?
Jensen didn’t exactly ensure he wanted to stay with the Ravens. He is quoted in an article by Ryan Mink of the Baltimore Ravens website:
“It’s been an awesome five years and I hope to be back here, but I’m going to see where life takes me. I’m going to go with the ebbs and flows of life.”
Jensen is going to get paid, and it doesn’t seem like he’s too willing to take a “hometown discount”. He deserves it, after being selected in the sixth round, he worked hard and stayed with the Ravens for 4 years before getting his chance, and he shined.
The organization had a similar decision to make last year with defensive tackle Brandon Williams. They definitely made the right decision then, as the defense proved to be much weaker with Williams out. Williams was paid with among the best at his position, and it seems as though Jensen will be too.
Here’s my take:
If you ask me, I wouldn’t go over $8 million per year for Jensen. Something like 4 year, $32 million dollars would be the highest I would go. If he isn’t willing to do that, I would move on and put my focus on wide receivers. Matt Skura played really well at right guard, and I think he would be a capable replacement. It will help that he would be surrounded by two of the better guards in football.
Whatever happens, it will be a tough decision for the team. Jensen has proven he is a good center, but is he worth the money that he will demand? Do the Ravens have enough cap flexibility to make it work? Is he more important that finding receivers? All of these questions will be answered in about a month and a half.