The deal: Three years, up to $22.5 million
Top 100 ranking: 42
This deal makes all kinds of sense for the Ravens, who never found a permanent replacement for Marshal Yanda after he retired following the 2019 season. In fact, 2020 was the first season in Ravens history without Yanda or Jonathan Ogden as part of their organization. And it showed: Ravens quarterbacks were pressured on 35% of their dropbacks, fourth-highest in the NFL.
Zeitler won’t have the same impact as Yanda or Ogden, obviously, but he’ll without question elevate the consistency of the Ravens’ line. And while there is always concern about signing a 31-year-old free agent, Zeitler has been exceptionally durable in his career: He has missed only one game in the past six seasons.
The Ravens did well to jump on one of the two or three best interior linemen available in this market at a price that did not break the top 10 in average per year for guards. The first two seasons of the deal are fully guaranteed at $16 million, meaning Zeitler has an average of $8 million over that period. And while it wasn’t a prime factor in his signing, Zeitler won’t count against the Ravens’ future compensatory-pick benefits because he was thrust into the market by a release (from the Giants) rather than the expiration of his contract. — Seifert
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