The Ravens learned of a second veteran player to opt out due to the COVID-19 pandemic as veteran offensive tackle Andre Smith won’t play in 2020.
The 33-year-old re-signed with Baltimore in February and was expected to compete for the swing job backing up Pro Bowl tackles Ronnie Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr. after veteran James Hurst was released in March. Smith, a 2009 first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals, signed with the Ravens in January and was inactive for the playoff loss to Tennessee. He has appeared in 116 contests (98 starts) in an NFL career spent primarily with the Bengals.
Smith’s one-year, $1.05 million contract will now carry over to the 2021 season as he’ll be given a $150,000 salary advance. Ravens return specialist De’Anthony Thomas opted out of the 2020 season on Monday.
The decision sheds further light on the Ravens’ shaky depth at offensive tackle. Rookie third-round pick Tyre Phillips played left tackle at Mississippi State, but Baltimore views him being a better fit at guard. Assuming Phillips could step in for either Stanley or Brown would be asking a great deal from a rookie not having the benefit of a normal offseason program or preseason games this summer.
(Update 4:30 p.m.: The Ravens re-signed veteran offensive lineman Parker Ehinger, who appeared in two games for Baltimore late last season.)
On Tuesday, head coach John Harbaugh revealed rookie tight end Jacob Breeland is not expected to play in 2020 as he continues to work his way back from a torn ACL suffered last season. The University of Oregon product faced the challenge of rehabbing his surgically-repaired knee mostly on his own in the midst of the pandemic. He is expected to rehab with the team and return to play in 2021.
Breeland’s absence could increase the probability of general manager Eric DeCosta adding a veteran to go with 2019 Pro Bowl selection Mark Andrews and top blocking tight end Nick Boyle. Three-time Pro Bowl selection Delanie Walker and 10th-year tight end Charles Clay are both free agents and have played for Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman, but their plans for 2020 remain unclear, which is notable with so many veteran players already opting out of the upcoming season.
Healthy tight ends on the roster behind Andrews and Boyle are 2019 practice-squad member Charles Scarff and undrafted rookie Eli Wolf.
Third-year running back Gus Edwards signed his exclusive-rights tender, which will pay him $750,000 for the upcoming season.
According to multiple reports, former Ravens defensive tackle Michael Pierce will not play for Minnesota in 2020 and is considered a high-risk opt-out because of asthma-related concerns. It’s unclear how that might impact the 2021 compensatory pick formula for the Ravens after Pierce signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Vikings in March.