The Ravens decision to re-sign Bryant McKinnie reverses an offseason trend that has seen the roster get younger at several key positions.
Before agreeing to a two-year deal with the 33-year-old left tackle, the Ravens were without eight of their nine oldest players from the team that beat the San Francisco 49ers on Feb. 3 to capture Super Bowl XLVII.
That team had 10 players 31 and over. Even with the return of McKinnie, the Ravens now have only three players 31 and over – McKinnie, cornerback Chris Johnson (33) and fullback Vonta Leach (31).
The changing of the guard of sorts was an expected development, especially with the retirements of middle linebacker Ray Lewis and center Matt Birk. While the Ravens' top decision makers never expressed publicly that one of their offseason goals was to get younger, the number of older free agents the team had made it easy to assume that would be the case.
But I'm not sure anybody expected this much turnover. When the Ravens decide on their final 53-man roster several months from now ahead of the regular-season opener against the Denver Broncos, it will be easy to figure out the average age of the team compared to last year's squad. For now though with so many players on the pre training camp roster, the point can be made simply by looking at the 15 oldest players on the Super Bowl team compared to the Ravens' 15 oldest players now.
15 oldest on Super Bowl roster
1. Ray Lewis, 37 - retired; 2. Bobbie Williams, 36 - released; 3. Matt Birk, 36 - retired; 4. Brendon Ayanbadejo, 36 – released; 5. Ed Reed, 34 – signed with Houston Texans; 6. Ma'ake Kemoeatu, 34 – free agent; 7. Bryant McKinnie, 33 – re-signed by Ravens; 8. Chris Johnson, 33 – re-signed by Ravens; 9. Anquan Boldin, 32 – traded to S.F. 49ers; 10. Vonta Leach, 31 – remains on Ravens; 11. Sam Koch, 30 – remains on Ravens; 12. Terrell Suggs, 30 – remains on Ravens; 13. Billy Bajema, 30 – free agent; 14. Sean Considine, 30 – free agent; 15. James Ihedigbo, 29 – re-signed by Ravens.
15 oldest on current roster
1. Bryant McKinnie, 33; 2. Chris Johnson, 33; 3. Vonta Leach, 31; 4. Sam Koch, 30; 5. Terrell Suggs, 30; 6. Chris Canty, 30; 7. Michael Huff, 30; 8. Marcus Spears, 30; 9. James Ihedigbo, 29; 10. Elvis Dumervil, 29; 11. Haloti Ngata, 29; 12. Jacoby Jones, 28; 13. Marshal Yanda, 28; 14. Joe Flacco, 28; 15. Corey Graham and Jameel McClain, 27.