Five years after his arrival in Baltimore, offensive tackle Michael Oher officially left the Ravens on Friday night when he signed a four-year, $20 million contract with the Tennessee Titans.
The contract includes $9.5 million guaranteed, according to a league source.
Oher visited the Titans on Friday and was originally scheduled to visit the Oakland Raiders on Saturday before finalizing his deal in Tennessee.
The 2009 Ravens first-round draft pick grew up in Memphis, Tenn., and now returns to his home state. Oher’s difficult childhood before being adopted by a wealthy Memphis family and later emerging as a blue-chip Ole Miss recruit provided the inspiration for “The Blind Side” movie that starred actress Sandra Bullock as his adoptive mother.
“Extremely happy and excited to be a Titan can’t wait to do big things,” Oher wrote on his official Twitter account. “Wanna thank the Ravens organization and their great fans.”
Oher maintained dialogue throughout the free agency process with the Ravens and they never ruled out bringing him back, according to sources, with a one-year contract available if he hadn't landed the long-term extension with the Titans.
The Ravens had already invested a five-year, $37.5 million contract that includes $19 million guaranteed in left tackle Eugene Monroe.
And Oher's $13.499 million rookie contract expired after this past season.
The Ravens conducted preliminary contract talks with the 2009 first-round draft pick in the past about striking a long-term deal, according to league sources. However, the sides never got close to the numbers it would have taken for Oher to sign a long-term deal with them.
The Ravens will need to find a replacement for Oher at right tackle. Ravens coach John Harbaugh has said previously that the team is determining whether to shift Kelechi Osemele back to right tackle or have him remain at left guard as he continues to rehab following back surgery in October that ended his season last year. Rick Wagner, a fifth-round draft pick last year from Wisconsin, is another candidate.
Wagner had trouble in pass protection in his first NFL game last season against the Denver Broncos when Oher sprained his ankle, but improved markedly throughout the season.
Oher allowed a team-high eight sacks and 42 quarterback hurries this season, according to Pro Football Focus. He had just five penalties this season but is the most frequently penalized player in the NFL since entering the league. He was the last-ranked tackle in the league in run blocking last season, according to Pro Football Focus.
Oher plays the game with a nasty streak and has a powerful hand punch. The athletic 6-foot-4, 315-pounder has started 80 consecutive games.
“Michael is a big, strong, durable player,” Titans general manager Ruston Webster said in a statement. “Like we have said with a number of players we added this week, he has versatility with experience playing both left and right tackle during his NFL career. We are excited to have Michael as part of the Titans family.”
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