The Baltimore Ravens have made two additions to their offensive line, signing former Kansas City Chiefs guard Jimmy Murray and reuniting with undrafted rookie offensive tackle Adrian Ealy, per the NFL’s official transaction reports for December 22 and 23.
Murray was last on the New York Jets’ practice squad, while Ealy was briefly on the Denver Broncos’ practice squad after leaving Baltimore in November.
The signings come amid a coronavirus outbreak in Baltimore, with 17 Ravens currently on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, according to the team’s official website.
Backup center Trystan Colon and practice squad offensive tackle David Sharpe are among those on the list, throwing their status for the Ravens’ Week 16 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals into doubt.
Colon previously missed the Ravens’ loss to the Green Bay Packers after testing positive on December 14, so he has a good chance of returning in Cincinnati, but Sharpe’s status will likely be up in the air until game day. His absence could loom large over a Ravens offensive line that was already without Patrick Mekari before losing Tyre Phillips against the Packers.
Ravens Running Out of OTs
Sharpe played well after Phillips went down with his second knee injury of the season, only allowing one pressure in 32 snaps, per Pro Football Focus. The Ravens only have one healthy offensive tackle on their roster in Alejandro Villanueva, though Mekari is trending towards returning against the Bengals after upgrading to full participation in practice on December 23.
Even if Mekari does return, the Ravens will still need to elevate at least one tackle from their practice squad, so Ealy could see action in his first week back in Baltimore. Jaryd Jones-Smith could also make his second appearance of the season after playing against Green Bay.
Ex-Bronco Ja’Wuan James was considered to be a “wild card” option for the Ravens at right tackle this season, but Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic wrote on December 23 that the “sense around the team is he won’t be an option for them this season.”
A return by Mekari would be a huge boost to a Ravens offense that is still without star quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has not practiced since suffering an ankle injury against the Cleveland Browns on December 12. Neither has starting left guard Ben Powers, who hurt his foot in the same game. Expectations are low regarding the potential return of both players in Cincinnati.
Murray’s NFL History
Ravens fans might be familiar with Adrian Ealy, given that he spent most of the year in Baltimore after signing with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Oklahoma.
But James Murray is likely an unknown name in Baltimore, having spent his career on practice squads in Kansas City and New York. He was a four-year starter at Holy Cross and has played all three interior line positions in the NFL, giving the Ravens some much-needed depth and versatility.
He’s earned solid grades from PFF in his preseason appearances over his four-year career, but he’s yet to see any regular season snaps on offense. That shouldn’t change in Baltimore, barring a dramatic escalation of the current COVID outbreak that would likely impact future games.