INDIANAPOLIS — In mid-November, during a bounce-back season that culminated with 16 regular-season starts and a Pro Bowl appearance, Ravens guard Marshal Yanda said he would worry about “big-picture stuff” in the offseason.
After a season-ending ankle injury in 2017, not to mention recurring shoulder problems, the 34-year-old Yanda had said in August that, at his age, “every year, you kind of have to re-assess and re-evaluate” your future. But Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Wednesday that he believes football remains in his plans for 2019.
“I haven’t heard that he’s not” returning, Harbaugh told reporters at the NFL scouting combine. “So if there’s a scoop out there that tells me otherwise, I’m all ears. I don’t want to hear that. That’s bad news I don’t want to get. My understanding is, Marshal Yanda is coming back and ready to roll, and that’s where we left it at the end of the season. To my knowledge, nothing has changed on that.”
Yanda’s return would stabilize the team’s right guard spot for at least another season, giving the Ravens a proven run blocker in a system that values that attribute. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley, a Pro Bowl alternate last season, is set to rejoin him along the line, but his long-term future as Lamar Jackson’s blind-side protector could be in flux.
As a first-round pick in 2016, Stanley could have his fifth-year team option picked up, extending his rookie contract through 2020. The Ravens declined to pick up wide receiver Breshad Perriman's option last year and exercised inside linebacker C.J. Mosley's in 2017. A contract extension for Stanley could also be possible, as general manager Eric DeCosta has made retaining the team’s young standouts a priority.
"I think we have a lot of different options with Ronnie,” DeCosta said. “I think he's playing extremely well, and I love the way that he finished the season this year. He really built on the successes that he had two years ago, and we're excited about him moving forward. He's a great young man. He's motivated. He's a good player at a really, really important position, so we'll have those discussions, I think, at some point soon."
The deadline for exercising fifth-year options is May 3.