OWINGS MILLS - Will left tackle Kelechi Osemele be playing his last game with the Ravens on Sunday?
The situation is fluid with Osemele, an impending 26-year-old free agent who has made a smooth late-season transition from left guard to left tackle. Will the Ravens re-sign Osemele and part with left tackle Eugene Monroe, who is coming off recent shoulder surgery and his second straight injury-plagued season? Or will the Ravens save money by letting Osemele walk, and sticking with Monroe, who still has three years remaining on his five-year, $37.5 million contract?
Osemele, who has spent four seasons with the Ravens, sounded very open to staying following Wednesday’s practice. He told an interesting story about general manager Ozzie Newsome giving Osemele more confidence that he could successfully switch to left tackle.
"Ozzie did a really good job of encouraging me,” Osemele said. “The guy’s a visionary - he watched a lot of film. I was confident that he was confident. Him letting me know that this wasn’t anything random, that he knows what he’s doing.”
After a recent conversation with Newsome, Osemele thinks he could be in the Ravens’ plans for next season as the starting left tackle.
“He was really positive about it,” Osemele said. “I was positive about staying. I think we’ve done great work here, and obviously working with someone like that, you want to stay. You want to be around a guy like Ozzie. He’s just exceptional in the front office - you know you’re going to have great players around you. Everybody plays like a Raven. There’s nothing but fighters here. It doesn’t matter what the record is, everybody just goes out there and plays. We’ll just see what happens. I know if we can get a deal done, we will.”
Some team is going to pay Osemele well. Whether it will be the Ravens, or someone else, remains to be seen.