The agent for Ravens offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie has an answer to general manager Ozzie Newsome's question regarding whether the former Pro Bowl blocker wants to return, and it's an affirmative one.
The pending unrestricted free agent would like to be back in Baltimore next season after reviving his football career during the Ravens' Super Bowl run, allowing just two sacks in four playoff games.
"Bryant would want to come back," agent Michael George told The Baltimore Sun. "He likes it there. He likes the situation, the way it is now. He's a free agent, so it's up to the Ravens what happens next obviously. The intention is to see what the market says. If the Ravens want to do something, we're definitely open to that. Obviously, it has to be right numbers for both sides."
No action has taken place between the Ravens and McKinnie, 33, at this early stage of the offseason other than coach John Harbaugh expressing interest twice to McKinnie in having him back during the playoffs, according to McKinnie.
During the Ravens' season-ending press conference last week at team headquarters, Newsome said that the team was impressed with how McKinnie performed late in the season.
"BMac is a free agent, I think the way he played down the stretch against [Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Dwight] Freeney, against [Denver Broncos outside linebacker Elvis] Dumervil, against [San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker] Aldon Smith, I think it makes a statement for him," Newsome said. "I
think he has a decision to make as to whether he wants to come back and play here."
McKinnie began the season on the bench after a rocky offseason last year where he faced multiple lawsuits and ultimately had his wages garnished, was paid a $500,000 roster bonus on the condition that he get in better shape, subsequently struggled with conditioning issues at a minicamp, reported to training camp late after saying he slipped and hurt his lower back at his South Florida home, initially flunked the Ravens' mandatory conditioning test and ultimately accepted a $1 million paycut from a $3.2 million base salary on Sept. 4 in order to remain on the roster.
Replaced at left offensive tackle by Michael Oher, McKinnie regained his starting job just prior to the Ravens' AFC wild-card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts after left guard Jah Reid suffered a toe injury that trigged a line shuffle with Oher going to right tackle and rookie Kelechi Osemele taking over at left guard.
"I'm very appreciative of John Harbaugh for putting me back in the lineup," McKinnie said after the Ravens' Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers. "I was able to help the team, the offensive line, become a litlte better and help them get to this point."
By all accounts, McKinnie played well in the playoffs and in limited action during the regular season.
In 418 snaps for the entire season, McKinnie graded out at a plus-5.6 with three sacks and seven quarterback hits allowed with one penalty, according to Pro Football Focus.
"It worked out brilliantly," George said. "To Bryant's credit, he worked hard and was a team player and showed what he can do when he gets in there. Bryant is getting back to work next week at Pete Bommarito's training facility in Florida. Bryant played at 345 pounds during the end of the season, which is the lighest he's been since he was playing for the Vikings."
There are several other free agent options at tackle, most of them likely more expensive than McKinnie.
That includes the Denver Broncos' Ryan Clady, the Kansas City Chiefs' Branden Albert, the Cincinnati Bengals' Andre Smith, the Miami Dolphins' Jake Long, the Detroit Lions' Gosder Cherilus, the New York Giants' Will Beatty, the New England Patriots' Sebastian Vollmer, the Minnesota Vikings' Phil Loadholt, the Atlanta Falcons' Sam Baker, the New Orleans Saints' Jermon Bushrod and the Washington Redskins' Jammal Brown.
"Whatever happens with the Ravens, it depends on them and whatever discussions are held before free agency," George said. "There are a lot of teams with needs at tackle, and there are maybe a half-dozen good ones in free agency. I'm expecting a lot of interest and a lot of demand. I'm expecting a domino effect with the tackle position as some of them get signed with the rest to follow."
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