The Baltimore Ravens’ long-awaited signing of offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva is in the books.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported the Ravens signed the veteran offensive tackle to a two-year, $14 million deal with $8 million fully guaranteed, per a source informed of the pact.
The signing has been telegraphed since the former Steelers left tackle visited the Ravens two weeks ago. After Baltimore traded Orlando Brown to Kansas City, the dot-connecting grew stronger.
It’s possible that the Ravens could have selected an offensive tackle early in the draft last week, scuttling a potential deal with Villanueva. When that passed, the pairing was almost inevitable.
The more likely reason Baltimore delayed the signing of the 32-year-old former Army Ranger was that signings no longer count toward the compensatory picks formula starting Monday night. The Ravens are as comp-pick conscious as any team in the NFL. The timing is not a coincidence.
NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo added that a few teams were hovering around Villanueva the past few days as a potential post-draft fit. After a positive meeting last month, however, the deal in Baltimore was cinched.
Getting $8 million guaranteed in the late wave of free agency is solid for Villanueva, who spent his first seven seasons in Pittsburgh, the last six protecting Ben Roethlisberger’s blind side. The money also signals the dearth of options for the playoff-caliber Ravens at this point.
It’s an interesting pairing for Baltimore. For the balance of his career, Villanueva has been a better pass blocker than run blocker. We know the Ravens’ offense is predicated on run-first. Baltimore likely views the veteran’s versatility as a bonus. Villanueva could operate the left side until Pro Bowler Ronnie Stanley is fully healthy, then flip to the right side.
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