Ronnie Stanley has a lot of talent left in him.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta acknowledged that the 29-year-old’s performance has suffered in recent years due to injury but said he still believes in his potential.
Stanley, an offensive tackle who has started every game he’s played since he was a rookie in 2016, has dealt with injuries since 2019. He played just seven games across the 2020 and 2021 seasons and missed five in 2022. His attendance improved slightly this season, when he missed four games, but he still dealt with injury throughout.
“Particularly as you get older, it gets tougher and tougher for guys to stay healthy,” DeCosta said in the end-of-season news conference. “And unfortunately, Ronnie, no fault of his own, he has had a series of injuries that have hurt him [and] hurt his performance — the ankle and then a series of knee injuries. So that’s definitely been a factor.”
When Stanley is healthy, he’s a huge part of the team’s success. He was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro player in 2019. Last season, he allowed one sack and 16 total pressures in 11 games, per PFF.
Although he played more games this season, he wasn’t healthy for a lot of them. He suffered a knee injury in Week 1 and was in and out of games and practices for the rest of the season. He finished 37th in PFF’s overall grades, 22nd in pass blocking and 41st in run blocking, behind backup Patrick Mekari (who filled in for both tackles as needed).
“I’m not satisfied, not playing to what my standard is for myself,” Stanley said after the Ravens’ AFC championship game loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “Being more consistent is something I pride myself on. I’ve got to keep moving forward and making sure I’m better next year.”
The run game is a huge part of the Ravens’ offense, and it will continue to be, which means the offensive line will be a point of emphasis, DeCosta said. The team has prided itself on playing a physical brand of ball, so players need to keep up with the wear and tear. They also have to protect a running quarterback who is the centerpiece of the team in Lamar Jackson. So every offseason that position group will be scrutinized, DeCosta said.
And Stanley, a former first-round pick, is nearing 30 and will carry a salary cap hit of over $26 million next year, according to Spotrac. He’s under contract for two more years and carries a huge penalty if the Ravens release him. He could be a candidate for a restructured contract, although DeCosta wouldn’t give a definitive answer as to whether left tackle is a position they’ll be examining closely.
“I love Ronnie; he’s still a talented player,” DeCosta said. “I think this is going to be a big offseason for him getting himself healthy, getting himself strong again, coming back in good football shape. We’ll make all those personnel decisions over the coming weeks.”
A big decision
At the position on the other side of the line and the locker right next to Stanley’s is Morgan Moses, a right tackle known for his consistency in performance and availability. However, this season, Moses’ 134-game iron man streak, which ranked third in the NFL at the time, came to an end when he missed the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Although Moses returned the following week, he dealt with the injury throughout the year and ultimately missed five games. When he played, the Ravens had a rotation going with Mekari to keep Moses’ snap count down.
It was a huge blow because Moses graded out in the top 10 of NFL tackles, according to PFF. By PFF grade, it was the best performance of his career. Although he allowed five sacks, which ranked 23rd in the NFL, he didn’t allow a single quarterback hit outside of those five sacks.
At exit interviews, Moses confirmed he was playing injured but said it was hard for him to sit out when he saw how hard his teammates were fighting to get back. But now the 32-year-old has a decision ahead of him — should he get surgery on his shoulder or rehab it another way?
The decision has not been made, DeCosta said Friday.
“He doesn’t have to have it, but he might want to have it to be ... just, he has to make that decision — performance-wise and life-wise,” DeCosta said.
What happened to Tyus Bowser?
DeCosta was asked this exact question, and he shed no light on the situation.
To recap, Bowser was dealing with an “agitated knee” in August and was expected back by Week 3. Then the timeline was pushed to Week 5. In October, he said he was feeling great and was trying to get back. He never dressed for a game.
Here’s what DeCosta said:
“Unfortunate for Tyus, he couldn’t play this year. Can’t really get into all the different specifics of that, as you guys know, how we handle the injuries. I think Tyus has probably talked about it in some way. He had an injury unfortunately and wasn’t able to play. We’ll have to continue to assess that in the coming weeks to see where he stands with that injury. [He’s] a great man, a good player for us. Just a tough deal for him this year, and we’ll have to deal with it.”
Rest and recovery
Safety Marcus Williams, who was visibly affected by his pectoral injury all season, will not undergo surgery in the offseason, DeCosta said.
Meanwhile, outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, who dealt with ankle injuries throughout the season, underwent surgery — but not on his ankle. He had surgery on his thumb and should be back to full speed in six to eight weeks.
There were no other major injuries other than the ones that were already known, DeCosta said. He confirmed outside linebacker David Ojabo is continuing to rehab after undergoing ACL surgery in Week 13.
DeCosta did not provide an update on running back Keaton Mitchell, who underwent surgery for a season-ending knee injury.