One of the Baltimore Ravens' most pressing needs is on the offensive line. That's why it's no surprise that the question of the week centers on, well, the center position.
@jamisonhensley Are the Ravens targeting other veteran free agent offensive lineman besides Mangold or will they wait until training camp cuts if they do so— Kyle Caldarelli (@KAC443) May 9, 2017
@jamisonhensley: The Ravens aren't necessarily targeting free-agent center Nick Mangold. The sides are technically in a holding pattern. It was 37 days ago when Mangold spent a couple days at the Ravens facility, talking to coaches and getting checked out medically.
When the sides haven't reached an agreement yet remain interested -- which is believed to be the case here -- the sticking point is usually money. Mangold might be looking for a contract that is befitting a seven-time Pro Bowl center, and the Ravens are probably looking for a bargain, considering they rank among the bottom five teams in salary-cap room.
Although there is no set deadline for this deal to happen, Baltimore would likely want to see something finalized shortly. With offseason practices beginning in a couple of weeks, it's getting to the point where the Ravens will want to see Mangold on the field after an injury-filled season.
"Right now, I’m kind of sitting back and weighing what options are available," Mangold told SiriusXM NFL radio.
Although it wouldn't be surprising to see Mangold delivering snaps to Joe Flacco this offseason, it's far from certain that it will happen. John Urschel and Ryan Jensen are the top options at center right now.
As far as the rest of the line, the Ravens' biggest need is right tackle. Baltimore believes Alex Lewis is best suited to play guard, so the Ravens need to fill the void left by Rick Wagner (who signed with Detroit in free agency). The top free-agent tackles available are King Dunlap, Ryan Clady and Austin Pasztor.
But general manager Ozzie Newsome has repeatedly shown patience in free agency, especially along the offensive line. The Ravens signed offensive tackle Willie Anderson a few days before the season opener in 2008, and Baltimore added offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie after training camp ended in 2011. The preference is to see if the younger players can fill spots before spending money on veteran players.