Ravens Interested in Former Patriots Starter to Replace Kevin Zeitler: Report

baltimore ravens

Getty The Baltimore Ravens are interested in former Patriots guard Michael Onwenu

The Baltimore Ravens are one of four teams interested in signing free agent guard Michael Onwenu, according to Boston Sports Journal’s Mike Giardi.

“Mike Onwenu will be a very popular man when the clock strikes 12, per multiple league sources,” Giardi posted on X on March 11.

Onwenu, 26, would replace veteran guard Kevin Zeitler, whose three-year contract the Ravens did not extend in February, automatically making him a free agent.

Even at age 33, Zeitler is considered a top free agent, but according to Sports Illustrated’s Nick Faria in February, “[D]espite the difficulty Baltimore could have regarding keeping their most consistent linemen, the 2024 NFL draft being full of top offensive line prospects could give the team more incentive to let Zeitler walk.”

Giardi reported that the Tennessee Titans, New York Giants and Washington Commanders also are interested in pursuing Onwenu, who is projected to get a deal paying an average annual salary of $13.6 million, which would make him the 11th highest paid guard in the league, according to Spotrac.

The Ravens’ Changing Offensive Line

Baltimore had one of the NFL’s best offensive lines in 2023, allowing the fewest pressures by opposing pass rushers. They also created the most yards before contact for runners.

Starting left guard John Simpson is also no longer under contract, and starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley is seen as a potential cut candidate.

Right tackle Morgan Moses also finds himself on that list.

Ravens leadership acknowledged that an O-line rebuild was likely in the 2024 offseason.

“The offensive line is where it starts … and we’re getting to it already,” head coach John Harbaugh said February 27 at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “You win in the trenches first,” Harbaugh said from the Combine in Indianapolis.
“We have some question marks on our offensive line. It’s going to be probably the most important thing we do on offense.”

A Steal in Round 6 for the Patriots

The Patriots have made plenty of questionable draft picks in recent years.

Landing Onwenu in the sixth round gave them a bit of redemption.

Despite dropping to late in Day 3 of the 2020 NFL draft, Onwenu became a starter almost immediately and thrived during his rookie season as he moved around the offensive line to fill in wherever the Pats needed him.

He struggled as a left guard in 2021, but finally found a permanent home in 2022.

That home was at right guard, where he started for the Pats in 2022 in 2023.

Onwenu started all 17 games in 2022 and only allowed one sack while committing just two penalties, making him one of the league’s best guards for the season.

He regressed a bit in 2023, allowing three sacks and committing four penalties in 15 games, but remained a dependable starter. He has also been solid as a run blocker in each of the past two seasons.

Now he’ll be a sought-after option in free agency and could be a great fit for a Ravens team that is going to be looking for answers along the offensive line as they prepare to potentially lose some important players from their unit.

Heading into free agency, the Ravens’ offseason has amounted to re-signing Nelson Agholor and franchise tagging and then extending Justin Madubuike.

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