One of the biggest questions the Baltimore Ravens face entering free agency this off-season is will the organization open up the pocketbook to retain Pro Bowl left guard Ben Grubbs?
Well, if the team isn’t willing to do so, could second-year tackle Jah Reid be the answer at left guard?
Reid, 23, was taken in the third-round of last April’s NFL Draft, and played sporadically at right tackle this season, mostly in jumbo and goal-line packages.
The Ravens traded up five spots in the 2011 NFL draft to grab Reid, giving up their third- and sixth-round picks to do so. The 6-foot-7, 335 pound specimen spent most of training camp and the preseason at right tackle with the first-team offense, mainly because of the lack of depth at the time, but also because of his fast maturation.
In fact, he would have likely started at right tackle had the Ravens elected not to sign left tackle Bryant McKinnie before the season started.
As a result, the University of Central Florida product was allowed to further grow and develop in his rookie campaign. He was active for all 16 regular season games and both of the team’s playoff games.
Reid’s physical stature could end up being a big plus for the Ravens if they elect not to re-sign Grubbs and give Reid the opportunity to compete for the starting left guard’s job. Throughout the course of the 2011 season, there were serious question marks about the offensive line’s size, toughness and ability to block one-on-one upfront, especially on running downs. Reid would certainly address some of those questions, as he holds a four inch, 25 pound edge over the 6-foot-3, 310 pound Grubbs.
It’s a move that in both the short term and long term could greatly benefit the organization. With running back Ray Rice set to cash in on a big pay day, and with quarterback Joe Flacco in the final year of his contract, the organization’s hands will be tied when it comes to attempting to sign Grubbs for the money he will want and deserve.