Ravens Urged to Sign Former Browns Center: ‘A Rock on the Interior’

JC Tretter

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images Center JC Tretter #64 and offensive tackle Jedrick Wills #71 celebrate with running back D'Ernest Johnson #30 of the Cleveland Browns after a first down against the Denver Broncos on October 21, 2021.

In 2021 Pro Football Focus rated J.C. Tretter of the Cleveland Browns as the sixth-best center in the NFL, assigning him a 78.7 overall grade and an 83.7 pass blocking grade. Nevertheless, the Browns made Tretter a salary cap casualty in mid-March, enabling the team to save more than $8 million against the salary cap.

“At 31 years old, Tretter still has plenty left in the tank and can be either a short-term replacement or a long-term starting option,” writes Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report, before noting that the Ravens lost starting center Bradley Bozeman to the Carolina Panthers in free agency, hence the potential fit.

“The Ravens have just $7 million in cap space and may have to create some room to sign Tretter, but they should. While drafting a new center is an option, Tretter is a proven commodity who could leave Baltimore with more flexibility over draft weekend,” adds Knox.

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Tretter is a Former Fourth-Round Pick of the Packers

Indeed there is a lot to like about the Batavia, N.Y. native, who earned a degree in industrial labor relations at Cornell University. He spent the first three seasons of his NFL career in Green Bay after the Packers selected him No. 122 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. He appeared in 31 games (with 10 starts) over those three seasons but didn’t reach his potential until he moved on to Cleveland in 2017.

In all five of his seasons with the Browns he started 16 games, missing one contest in 2021 while on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. Amazingly, he played in 100% of the offensive snaps during every game in which he appeared for Cleveland, as per Pro Football Reference, which also reveals that he was responsible for just four penalties in 2021. That’s a grand total of 5,302 offensive snaps, plus another 96 on special teams.

Tretter — 6-foot-4 and 307 pounds — is currently in the midst of his second term as National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) president, having been unanimously re-elected on March 11, 2022. He was first elected as NFLPA president in 2020, having been chosen over Sam Acho of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Michael Thomas of the New York Giants.

The Ravens Could Address the Center Position in the Draft

Of course, the Ravens could also choose to add a center in the forthcoming draft, which will begin on Thursday April 28 and wrap up on Saturday April 30. In February the aforementioned Knox urged the Ravens to select Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum in the first round. Pro Football Focus (PFF) recently called Linderbaum “the best center prospect we’ve seen in the PFF College era,” awarding him a truly elite 95.4 overall grade in 2021.

More notably still, at the 2022 NFL Combine Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta likened Linderbaum to former Ravens great Marshal Yanda, who went to the Pro Bowl eight times during his 13-year career, earning first-team All-Pro honors twice. Like Linderbaum, Yanda played his college football for the Iowa Hawkeyes, except Yanda turned out to be a draft bargain, having been selected in the third round (No. 86 overall) in 2007.

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