Despite making the Pro Bowl four times during his eight seasons, I don’t think Ravens guard Marshal Yanda gets the credit he deserves. Yanda ranks No. 79 on the NFL Network annual list of Top 100 players, voted on by players. That’s a drop from 2014, when Yanda ranked 55th.
Yanda is everything you look for in an offensive lineman – tough, smart, talented, and versatile. After Ravens right tackle Rick Wagner suffered an injury last season, Yanda switched from right guard to right tackle for the regular-season finale against the Browns and played flawlessly. Afterward, former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak had this to say about Yanda.
“I’ve been fortunate to be around some really good offensive linemen, (but) this is as good as I’ve ever been around,” said Kubiak, now head coach of the Broncos. “He’s an amazing player. His attention to detail, his commitment to the football team and what he does is as good as I’ve ever been around.”
Yanda’s contract situation looms as an important negotiation for general manager Ozzie Newsome. Entering the final season of a four-year, $20 million contract extension, Yanda will be coveted if he hits the open market in 2016. He is still only 30 years old, with plenty of excellent football left.
Expect the Ravens to make a strong push to re-sign Yanda before he ever becomes a free agent. An offensive line without Yanda is not a road the Ravens are eager to travel.