Eric DeCosta has a few pressing priorities entering free agency, not least resolving the future of quarterback Lamar Jackson. Yet, Jackson isn’t the only name on the to-do list for the Baltimore Ravens’ general manager.
DeCosta would also like to retain the services of left guard Ben Powers. Unfortunately, the GM believes Powers will be “highly sought after” on the veteran market, per The Baltimore Banner’s Jonas Shaffer:
DeCosta’s concern is well founded after Powers enjoyed a breakout year during which he started a career-high 15 games. Powers sounded ready to move on when he spoke at the end of the season: “I’ve had nothing but great experiences in my last four years in Baltimore, but with that being said, I do not know what the future holds,” per Ravens.com’s Clifton Brown.
If DeCosta can find the cash to keep Powers and still make a deal for Jackson, he should move quickly to secure one of the pillars of Baltimore’s offensive line and the team’s prolific rushing schemes.
Solid Starter Going From Strength to Strength
Powers brought his mammoth 6’4″, 338-pound frame to bear in both phases of the Ravens’ offense. He was a true mauler whenever asked to lead the way on the ground.
The Ravens called Powers’ number on this QB keeper by Jackson during Week 5’s 19-17 win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Powers (72) pulled around the corner and cleaned up the edges with a nice block in space:
Putting Powers on the move became a staple concept within the Ravens’ varied and relentless rushing attack. He became essential to the pin and pull concepts favored by now former offensive coordinator Greg Roman.
Powers proved dominant in space, but he was also a force on more stationary assignments. The fourth-year pro proved his chops blocking in a proverbial phone booth when he absorbed nose tackle Montravius Adams when the Ravens beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the season’s penultimate week.
The play, specifically Powers’ contribution, was highlighted by Ryan Mink of Ravens.com:
Blocks like these are vital for the kind of run-heavy offense the Ravens are still likely to operate, even after Roman stepped down on Thursday, January 19. Yet, no matter how often the Ravens run the ball, the focus of Roman’s replacement will be building an offense around all of Jackson’s talents.
Strong O-Line a Good Incentive for Jackson to Stay
Jackson still hasn’t signed a lengthy new contract, and the the Ravens using the franchise tag looks increasingly likely. If it comes to that, DeCosta is expected to “use the exclusive tag, which has a higher price tag but allows Baltimore to control trade talks,” according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
Playing under the tag for one or two seasons wouldn’t offer Jackson the long-term security nor fully guaranteed cash of a new deal. It would allow the 26-year-old to keep his options open and plan to enter free agency as far down the road as 2025, when Jackson would be entering his peak playing years.
One thing that might soften the blow of having to settle for the tag, is if Jackson gets to continue playing behind an O-line he trusts. That would be the case if DeCosta retains Powers, because in addition to bossing defense in the running game, Powers also matured into a competent pass-protector, per Mink, citing numbers from Pro Football Focus:
Constructing a strong front is one of the ways the Ravens have built their team around Jackson. He’ll probably view adding a marquee wide receiver as a true show of faith, but keeping a core player like Powers can only boost DeCosta’s chances of convincing Jackson to stay for the long haul.