The Baltimore Ravens worked free agency in a typically smart way this offseason. General manager Eric DeCosta brought in several veterans at key positions, headlined by additions in the secondary.
Safety Marcus Williams and slot cornerback Kyle Fuller will fix a unit that surrendered the most passing yards in the NFL last season. Yet neither is the biggest upgrade added to this year’s roster.
That distinction belongs to a versatile lineman who has been named as the Ravens’ “most overlooked addition,” despite being a natural scheme fit. This solid pro could be a factor at any one of two vital positions.
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Unheralded Deal Could Turn Out to Be Ravens’ Best
In a list of the most overlooked additions this offseason, Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine named Morgan Moses as a new signing the Ravens should celebrate. Ballentine believes “there should have been dancing in the streets of Baltimore when the team signed Morgan Moses to a three-year, $15 million contract.”
It was a cost-effective deal for a steady and durable offensive tackle who can play on either side of the line. Moses has mostly operated at right tackle since entering the league as a third-round pick for Washington in the 2014 NFL draft, but he played on the left side during his collegiate days at Virginia.
The presence of Trent Williams in Washington let Moses make his mark at right tackle, and he didn’t miss a game after becoming a full-time starter in 2015. Moses also stayed on the field for every game after joining the New York Jets in 2021.
That level of durability will be an asset for the Ravens after lengthy injury problems at both tackle spots in recent years. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley missed all but one game last season and is coming off ankle surgery, but he’s also targeting a return for the start of the new campaign, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
Some caution is understandable with Stanley, who has played just seven games the last two seasons. As Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic reported, “DeCosta acknowledged he erred in banking too heavily on Stanley coming back at full strength” in 2021.
Moses provides the Ravens with some welcome insurance covering Lamar Jackson’s blindside. Jackson’s a franchise quarterback who needs better protection than he received from Alejandro Villanueva last season. The former Pittsburgh Steelers starter managed to stay on the field, playing 97 percent of the Ravens’ offensive snaps, but he was also flagged for eight holding penalties, according to Pro Football Reference.
Moses is a “massive upgrade,” according to Ballentine, after giving up just four sacks with the Jets. He would comfortably handle holding down the left side if Stanley is not ready to go right away.
The Ravens’ best-case scenario is Stanley being healthy for Week 1, while Moses takes up his familiar position on the right. Ja’Wuan James was expected to occupy that berth last season, but he wasn’t ready to be activated from injured reserve last December, following the torn Achilles he suffered while a member of the Denver Broncos.
James has been a capable starter for the Miami Dolphins, but Moses is a more reliable option. Wherever the latter lines up, Moses will make an impact in the most important area of the Ravens’ offense.
Moses Fits Run-Heavy Offense
Ballentine pointed out how “Baltimore is still one of the truly run-heavy teams in the league, and Moses is an excellent run-blocker.” This is an ideal match of scheme and player.
Moses is a force in the ground game because of his mammoth, 6’6″ and 330-pound frame. He can create movement either amid the mixer of the trenches or out in space.
Overpowering people at the point of attack is one of the keys to any successful running play, and Moses showed how it’s done for this score against the Texans:
The aggressive way Moses finished this block, driving his opponent to the deck, will appeal to Ravens’ offensive coordinator Greg Roman. He calls a system based around bludgeoning defenses on the ground.
Winning the physical battles is a significant part of the Ravens’ blue-collar identity, and Moses won’t let his new team down in this area. Running backs Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins will thrive running behind Moses once they’re healthy.
Moses’ combination of experience, tenacity, skill and health is truly a bargain on a contract Spotrac.com details will pay him a modest $1.12 million in base salary this season.