Patrick Mekari

Latest On Ravens’ Offensive Line

The Ravens’ offensive line is set to look very different from the group that started throughout their 14-3 campaign last year. Baltimore was home to the league’s MVP winner and top rushing offense thanks in part due to the contributions of right tackle Morgan Moses (now with the Jets), right guard Kevin Zeitler (now with the Lions), and left guard John Simpson (also with the Jets). With the departures of Moses, Zeitler, and Simpson, the team needed to address three starting positions along the offensive front this offseason.

The Ravens will see a few familiar faces return to start in 2024. Tyler Linderbaum, who has excelled since being drafted in the first round in 2022, will return with two years and a fifth-year option remaining on his contract. He has been the top-billed center as advertised, grading in the top seven players at the position each year, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).

Ronnie Stanley also returns at left tackle. The blindside blocker’s inability to stay on the field continued in 2023, though with marked improvement. Though he made 13 starts last year, he only played 100 percent of the team’s offensive snaps in four of those games, often subbing out to be replaced by swing tackle Patrick Mekari.

Mekari returns, as well, set to reprise his usual role as the sixth man on the offensive line. At this point in his career, the veteran Cal product has started games at every position along the offensive line, often grading out better than the players he replaces. Mekari’s value as an emergency starter at any position makes it hard to dedicate him to a single starting spot, but at the end of the day, Baltimore is going to want to start its five best linemen.

To fill the three starting positions vacated, the Ravens are looking internally at draft picks from the past four years. At right tackle, rookie second-round pick Roger Rosengarten is expected to start at some point this year, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN, a bit more certain of a prediction than we had previously received on the subject. The Washington product will compete for the job with 2022 fourth-round selection Daniel Faalele. Faalele has only seen one start in his two years of play, but thanks to the continuous injuries to veterans like Stanley and Moses, Faalele has gotten a good number of injury-relief snaps with the first-team offense.

The drafted players competing for the two guard spots are 2021 third-round pick Ben Cleveland and last year’s sixth- and seventh-round picks, respectively, Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and Andrew Vorhees. Cleveland has made starts in each year since getting drafted (seven starts total) but has failed to give Baltimore enough confidence to hand him the reins to the starting role. His starts have always come at the end of the season, usually when the team’s postseason fate has already been decided. In the team’s past two postseason appearances, Cleveland has failed to make a start despite staring the final games in each season.

Aumavae-Laulu and Vorhees are both interesting cases. Aumavae-Laulu was a finalist for the starting left guard job last offseason as a rookie, eventually losing out to Simpson. After not landing the gig, Aumavae-Laulu essentially served a redshirt season, failing to make an appearance in 2023. Vorhees joined Aumavae-Laulu in his redshirt season, recovering from an ACL tear suffered at the scouting combine last year. The USC product was widely viewed as a first- or second-round pick before the injury, allowing the Ravens to bookmark the seventh-rounder as an eventual candidate to start once healthy. Vorhees was also viewed as a candidate to start at right tackle before the draft, but with Rosengarten joining the locker room, Vorhees can likely focus on the interior.

There is at least one outside candidate vying for a starting role. Baltimore signed Josh Jones in free agency back in March as a potential competitor for a starting guard role. Jones has plenty of starting experience over his time with the Cardinals and Texans, starting 24 of 60 game appearances at both guard and tackle. Even if he can’t beat out Cleveland, Aumavae-Laulu, or Vorhees for a starting gig, he could join Mekari as one of two extremely versatile backups.

In the end, there is a lot to look forward to in offseason position battles. Linderbaum and Stanley seem fixed at their center and left tackle starting spots, respectively. Rosengarten should start at right tackle eventually, and if he’s not ready to start Week 1, Mekari, Faalele, Jones, or even Vorhees could man the spot in the meantime. The guard spots are mostly blind right now as the Ravens wait to see who develops into the roles best out of Cleveland, Aumavae-Laulu, Vorhees, and Jones. Expect it to be some combination of two of those four. And even if they fail to earn starting jobs, Mekari and Jones stand to represent two of the stronger backup options in the league and could fill in if any of the new starters falter early.

Regardless of who ends up where, the line is guaranteed to look extremely different in 2024. It will be up to offensive line coach Joe D’Alessandris, new assistant offensive line coach Travelle Wharton, and new run game coordinator Travis Switzer to make sure the line is as productive as last year’s unit. Having Lamar Jackson and Derrick Henry in the backfield should do wonders in helping towards achieving that goal, as well.

Ravens Not Looking Externally For RB Help

The Ravens were forced to swallow a heavy pill when starting running back J.K. Dobbins suffered a torn Achilles tendon during the team’s win over the Texans this weekend. For solutions, many thought to look at the free agent or trade market, both of which are ripe with talented veterans, but head coach John Harbaugh said today that Baltimore will not be looking externally for running back help, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.

With options like Kareem Hunt and Leonard Fournette in free agency and a player like Jonathan Taylor reportedly available via trade, no one would blame Harbaugh and company for bringing in an experienced starter to tote the rock. Instead, the Ravens feel confident in the options they have in-house to take over with Harbaugh even indicating that they will be operating with a committee in the backfield.

When Dobbins exited Sunday’s game, fifth-year backup Justice Hill stepped in and immediately scored a touchdown, his first since the 2019 season. While he later scored a second touchdown, matching his career-high for a season, Hill only amassed nine yards on eight carries. Veteran backup rusher Gus Edwards, who has filled in as a starter at times in his career, was a bit more productive with his eight carries, racking up 32 yards.

Adding veterans didn’t quite deliver the desired result two years ago when Dobbins, Edwards, and Hill all missed the 2021 season with season-ending injuries before the year even began. That year, Baltimore turned to a committee featuring veteran backs like Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray, and Le’Veon Bell in conjunction with Ty’Son Williams. Freeman and Murray each reached 500 rushing yards and delivered six scores apiece, but overall, the running game was dependent on quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Still, the Ravens added veteran rusher Melvin Gordon in the offseason, ultimately cutting him and signing him to the practice squad before the regular season. Gordon seems like an obvious callup to help carry the load without Dobbins. The Ravens also saw some impressive preseason performances from undrafted rookies Keaton Mitchell and Owen Wright, landing both on the team’s roster in some capacity to start the year. Mitchell currently resides on injured reserve himself, so he’s unable to contribute at this time. Wright, though, landed on the practice squad and may also hear his number called up to the active roster this season.

Dobbins is now expected to undergo surgery to repair his Achilles tendon this Friday, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network. Pelissero points out that Rams running back Cam Akers recovered from a similar surgery in less than six months two years ago. Dobbins will be aiming for a similar timeline, bringing him back shortly after the start of the 2024 league year.

In other injury news, Harbaugh confirmed that starting free safety Marcus Williams “will be out for a while” after suffering a pectoral muscle injury, according to Ravens editorial director Ryan Mink. Williams missed seven games in his Baltimore debut last year and will be forced to miss more in 2023, but the team is holding out hope that he will not be out for the season. He’ll be forced to make a decision soon on whether or not he will undergo surgery, as well.

In Williams’ absence, the team turned to Geno Stone yesterday. Stone started the seven games missed by Williams last year, as well. The team also has versatile defensive backs Brandon Stephens and Ar’Darius Washington that they can turn to. Stephens recently moved back to safety after spending time at cornerback when the depth chart was thin there. Washington has always been a safety but got extensive work in the slot this offseason.

Starting left tackle Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum suffered a sprained knee and ankle, respectively, forcing them both to leave the game early, as well. Both players are reportedly “week-to-week” but could miss the trip to Cincinnati this Sunday. Versatile sixth-man Patrick Mekari stepped in for Stanley yesterday and is an easy choice to start as an injury replacement as he’s done so often in the past. Offseason addition and practice squad callup Sam Mustipher filled in at center and will likely continue to do so, if needed.

The team will certainly hope that they won’t need to rely on Mekari and Mustipher for too long, and though they are clearly missing many bodies for the upcoming matchup with their division-rival, they’ll hope to get some back, too. Both cornerback Marlon Humphrey and tight end Mark Andrews will have a chance to play this weekend. There’s still work to be done, but things have been looking up recently for both players.

Four In Running For Ravens’ LG Job?

The Ravens will return four starters from last year’s offensive line in right tackle Morgan Moses, right guard Kevin Zeitler, center Tyler Linderbaum, and left tackle Ronnie Stanley. After allowing last season’s starting left guard, Ben Powers, to depart for Denver in free agency, Baltimore has an open spot available on the starting offensive line.

The Ravens are fairly confident in their options to replace Powers. The favorites for the job are utility lineman Patrick Mekari, guards Ben Cleveland and John Simpson, and tackle Daniel Faalele. The team did draft two linemen in Oregon’s Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu and USC’s Andrew Vorhees, but Aumavae-Laulu is considered a developmental prospect who can play all over the line, according to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, while Vorhees’s recent injuries will require him to miss most, if not all, of his rookie season. They also recently added former Bears center Sam Mustipher, but Mustipher is expected to act as an experienced backup center behind Linderbaum.

Mekari and Faalele may be too valuable in their current roles to force into a starting guard spot, even if they would be strong contributors at the position. Mekari has excelled in recent years as a sort of sixth-man for the Ravens’ offensive line. The former undrafted free agent out of Cal has started games at every position on the line for Baltimore usually as an injury replacement. He has the talent to start for many teams, but Baltimore paid him in 2021 to stay and be one of the league’s most talented backups. Faalele on the other hand has the perfect frame to develop into a top tackle. At 6-foot-8, 380 pounds, Faalele could surely be a force on the interior offensive line, but the Ravens want to keep that length on the outside and will likely continue developing him as a tackle.

The battle likely boils down to Cleveland and Simpson. Cleveland was drafted in the third round two years ago with the expectation that he would develop into a starting guard. He lost the battle last year to Powers, but at 6-foot-6, 357 pounds, Cleveland could be an imposing physical presence on the left side of the line. He’s had five starts over his first two years in the league and dealt with a knee injury his rookie year.

Simpson was a late-season addition to the Ravens’ practice squad last year who was signed to a futures contract at the end of the season. He found his way to Baltimore after being waived by the Raiders but is only a year removed from his role as a full-time starting left guard for Las Vegas.

No battles will be won in May, but the Ravens are well set up to use this summer to determine who will be starting in between Linderbaum and Stanley in Week 1 vs. Houston.

AFC North Notes: Mixon, Browns, Steelers

Nearly three weeks into free agency, Joe Mixon remains on the Bengals‘ roster. The team having seen Samaje Perine turn down an offer to stay and instead choose Denver thinned out its running back room. But Mixon’s status for a seventh Bengals season is not yet a lock. Bengals executive VP Katie Blackburn stopped short of guaranteeing the six-year Cincinnati starter will be back, reminding of comments player personnel VP Duke Tobin made at the Combine.

Right now, he’s on the team and we are going count on him until that wouldn’t be the case,” Blackburn said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Kelsey Conway. “Right now, he’s our starting guy. You’ve seen other teams have to make moves. Could we get to that point? Maybe. But it would be down the road here and we’d have to see if that’s what makes sense or not.”

This situation could hinge on how the Bengals approach the position in the draft. Mixon, 26, is due a $9.4MM base salary and is tied to the third-highest cap figure ($12.8MM) on the team. Blackburn did not rule out the possibility of a post-June 1 cut designation, which would save Cincy $10MM, and ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler indicated recently (h/t Bleacher Report) the Bengals are looking to add at running back. (They were linked to Ezekiel Elliott, but little has emerged on that front since.) The Perine offer may have been indicative of Mixon plans. The team could still pair Mixon with a rookie, but it does have some pricey deals — most notably for Joe Burrow — on the horizon. Mixon’s $12MM-per-year deal could be used to create more cap space.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • The Browns attempted a bigger swing at defensive tackle in free agency. Dalvin Tomlinson became an expensive consolation prize, with Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer noting the team was one of the final two suitors for Javon Hargrave. The standout D-tackle signed a four-year, $84MM 49ers deal, denying the DT-needy Browns one of this year’s biggest free agency fish. Cleveland regrouped with Tomlinson, who signed a four-year, $57MM pact. The Browns, who did little at D-tackle ahead of a poor run-defense season in 2022, preferred Tomlinson to fellow target Dre’Mont Jones, Cabot adds. Tomlinson’s acumen as a run defender attracted the Browns more, as Jones profiles as an inside pass rusher rather than a run stopper.
  • Staying in Cleveland, the Browns no longer have a second-round pick thanks to the Elijah Moore pick-swap trade. The Browns eyed Moore since his trade request emerged last year, GM Andrew Berry said (via Cabot). After a dispute with then-Jets OC Mike LaFleur, Moore requested a trade. The Jets were adamant they did not want to trade Moore at the time, but after they signed Allen Lazard and Mecole Hardman, the Ole Miss alum became expendable. Still, Cabot adds Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh vouched for Moore’s character to the Browns ahead of the trade.
  • The Steelers traded Chase Claypool for a second-round pick last year, and given their reputation for selecting Day 2 wideouts, it should not surprise the team is being connected to such a move once again. The team will seek an upgrade in the slot, GM Omar Khan said (via The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly). Hopeful slot weapon Calvin Austin III missed his entire rookie year due to injury. The team should be considered likely to address this need by Round 3, Kaboly adds in a separate piece. From 2013-22, the Steelers chose eight wideouts on Day 2. Both their current top two receivers — Diontae Johnson and George Pickens — were Friday-night draftees.
  • It does not sound like the Ravens will use a notable resource to replace Ben Powers. John Harbaugh alluded to another competition — one featuring former third-round pick Ben Cleveland, ex-Raiders draftee John Simpson, swingman Patrick Mekari and 2022 fourth-round tackle Daniel Faalele (who is 6-foot-9) as options — being how the team will replace Powers, who won a left guard battle last year. Powers, who scored a four-year Broncos deal worth $52MM, beat out Cleveland in training camp. A draft choice could be added here, but The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec does not anticipate a high pick going to this spot.

Ravens LT Ja’Wuan James Suffers Torn Achilles

The Ravens entered today’s game without their starting left tackle, and exited it with their top replacement option unavailable as well. Ja’Wuan James left the contest due to an injury which head coach John Harbaugh has since announced is a torn Achilles (Twitter link via NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo). 

The news is a crushing blow for the 30-year-old. James’ appearance today was his first since 2019, as he had just made his way back from the Achilles tear which ended his time with the Broncos. After signing with the Ravens last offseason, there was a chance he would have been able to play, but he remained sidelined as 2022 insurance for All-Pro Ronnie Stanley.

The latter’s lingering ankle problems led to him being declared inactive yesterday. Stanley has played just one game since October 2020, and his absence was a significant contributor to the Ravens’ offensive line struggles last year. The team took steps to add both starting and depth options over the offseason, including retaining James despite his injury uncertainty. It was confirmed during the summer that James would be the primary backup on the blindside, even though his experience all-but exclusively came as a right tackle.

Free agent signing Morgan Moses manned that spot, and he is expected to do so despite James’ injury. Filling in for James was Patrick Mekari, who spent most of last season as a fill-in at RT while the Ravens dealt with Stanley’s absence. The former UDFA has proven himself an effective backup across the line, and will likely start at left tackle next week unless Stanley is able to return – something which the team now requires with even more urgency than before today.

Release Candidate: Ravens OT Alejandro Villanueva

In the week before the 2021 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens gave in to the wishes of Pro Bowl offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. and traded him away to the Chiefs. This trade left a hole on the Ravens’ offensive line opposite All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley. To address this issue, the Ravens signed Alejandro Villanueva, a free agent whom the Steelers felt ready to move on from

After not falling in love with any of the tackles the Draft had to offer at their position in the early rounds, Baltimore opted for a stopgap solution, signing Villanueva to a two-year deal worth $14MM. Villanueva had performed admirably over his sevens years in Pittsburgh, but was never really considered an elite tackle. His best years saw him make consecutive Pro Bowls in the 2017 and 2018 NFL seasons.

As a Raven, Villanueva did his job, and then was asked to do more. After four years of starting at left tackle as a Steeler, Villanueva struggled initially when asked to fill in at right tackle. He got to go back to his more natural position after ankle surgery sidelined Stanley for the all but one game of the 2021 season.

Villanueva had an up and down year. Often Villanueva’s age showed during some rough outings, but the 33-year-old showed some resiliency, playing through some discomfort knowing that another absence for the injury-devastated Ravens could spell disaster. He seemed to find his footing with time, though, playing a pretty good stretch of football to end the season.

But was Villanueva’s performance in 2021 worthy of a $9.25MM cap hit in 2022? Likely not. The Ravens will hope for a strong return for Stanley and they signed Ja’Wuan James to a low $9MM, two-year contract knowing that he likely would be out with a torn Achilles tendon for much of the 2021 season. The likeliest scenario sees Baltimore cutting Villanueva loose to rely on a combination of Stanley and James to bookend the offensive line. The Ravens also recently signed utility offensive lineman Patrick Mekari to a three-year extension. The former undrafted free agent has started at all three offensive line positions for Baltimore and could continue to fill in at right tackle until the next franchise tackle shows up.

Baltimore could also opt to address the position in the 2022 NFL Draft. While, with the 14th overall pick, the Ravens are not in a position to take one of the Draft’s more exciting tackle prospects like NC State’s Ikem Ekwonu or Alabama’s Evan Neal, if Mississippi State’s Charles Cross were to fall to Baltimore, the Ravens, who are known for drafting for value over fit, would likely find it hard to pass on Cross’s potential. Cross, who ranks as the 8th best Draft prospect on The Athletic’s Dane Brugler’s Top 100, impresses many evaluators, but, reportedly, hasn’t convinced the entire league that he’s a top ten draft pick. If the Ravens were to trade back later into the first round, another common move by the draft-savvy franchise, they could find smaller school prospects like Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning or Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann falling into their laps. They could even wait until their second-round or third-round selections come up and opt to take a flyer on Minnesota’s massive Daniel Faalele or Ohio State’s Nicholas Petit-Frere, respectively.

Regardless, most paths that make sense for Baltimore don’t entail the team stomaching a $9.25MM cap hit for a tackle that struggled much of the year for them. Turning 34 at the beginning of the 2022 season, Villanueva could save the Ravens the trouble and simply retire. Whether retired or released, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we don’t see Villanueva in purple and black next season.

AFC North Rumors: Ravens, Jackson, Browns, Steelers

Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta‘s end-of-season press conference touched on a number of subjects, including the contract extension negotiations with star quarterback Lamar Jackson. While The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec does note that head coach John Harbaugh and DeCosta make it seem as if the deal is imminent, it isn’t guaranteed that Jackson signs an extension before the start of the 2022 NFL season.

“I would say that we’re working at Lamar’s pace. He’s comfortable with where we are right now,” DeCosta stated. He did call negotiations “unusual” with Jackson essentially acting as his own agent. There doesn’t seem to be any rush to get a deal done, though. DeCosta acknowledged that the Ravens are fine with Jackson playing on his fifth-year option, and Jackson seems more focused on the team’s unfinished business after being the AFC’s number one-seed in 2020 but failing to make it to a Super Bowl yet.

Here are a few more notes on the AFC North, starting with another item out of Charm City:

  • DeCosta spoke a bit, as well, about the team’s plan to focus on offensive line this offseason. One of the things that they fear they’ll need to address is the free agency of center Bradley Bozeman. Bozeman moved from guard to center after Matt Skura signed with the Dolphins in free agency last year, and they’re afraid Bozeman’s play has priced him out of Maryland. Baltimore saw Ryan Jensen leave to become the highest paid center in football in 2018, so they’re certainly used to replacing centers. They currently have utility lineman Patrick Mekari, who has started games at all three offensive line positions throughout his young Ravens’ career, and who signed an extension late in the season.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. and Von Miller became close friends as they rehabbed together in Colorado Springs last offseason, dreaming about eventually playing together. According to George M. Thomas of the Akron Beacon Journal, Beckham made it clear that if they were to make it a reality, it couldn’t be in orange and brown. Miller informed Thomas that Beckham told him straight up, “Don’t come to Cleveland.” In the end, Miller was traded to the Rams and, following a nasty separation from the Browns, Beckham signed to join him in Los Angeles. The pair are now set to play in Super Bowl LVI against a team Beckham knows all too well from his time in the AFC North.
  • With longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger retiring last week, head coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert represented Pittsburgh at Senior Bowl practices this week. Despite the quarterback group leaving much to be desired through some injury concerns and bad weather, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus reports that buzz around the event is that the Steelers like Liberty quarterback Malik Willis. Willis has shown the best combination of athleticism and arm strength at practices this week and a source informed Kyed that he’s impressed in interviews, as well. The Steelers currently hold the 20th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and could easily see Willis fall to them, as he’s been seen as a borderline first round pick since declaring. They could also risk potentially missing out on him and trade back later in the first round or early in the second and try to maximize need and value.

Ravens Sign OL Patrick Mekari To Extension

The Ravens locked down one of their offensive line starters Thursday. They reached a three-year extension agreement with Patrick Mekari, who is now signed through 2024.

A former UDFA, Mekari has served as a multi-position starter with Baltimore. After initially breaking into the Ravens’ lineup as a center in 2019, Mekari has settled in at right tackle this season. Mekari’s deal is worth $15.35MM, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. The 24-year-old blocker will collect $7MM guaranteed.

Mekari was set to be a restricted free agent in March. The Cal alum opted to collect cash now and remain with Baltimore. He joins Ronnie Stanley and guard Kevin Zeitler as Raven O-linemen signed to long-term veteran deals.

Injuries have changed Baltimore’s outlook up front this season. Stanley going down for a second straight year moved Alejandro Villanueva from right to left tackle. Mekari has filled in on the right side, making a career-high 10 starts this season. This comes a year after Mekari worked as both a starting guard and center. In 2019, Mekari replaced Matt Skura at center late in the season and finished out the team’s 14-2 slate at that spot.

Baltimore traded three-year right tackle starter Orlando Brown Jr. to Kansas City this offseason, collecting a first-round pick and change for a player determined not to play right tackle any longer. Brown replaced Stanley on the left side after the latter’s 2020 injury, ending his run as the Ravens’ long-term right-edge protector. Mekari may now move into that role, though the Ravens have the option of bringing in someone else there and slotting Mekari in at another O-line position next season. Center Bradley Bozeman is a 2022 free agent, potentially opening up that spot.

Ravens Place Robert Griffin III On IR

The hamstring injury Robert Griffin III suffered Wednesday in Pittsburgh will result in a prolonged absence. This could complicate matters for the Ravens.

While RG3 going on IR would not normally affect Baltimore’s starting lineup, it is not yet known if Lamar Jackson will be ready to return when first eligible to come off the Ravens’ reserve/COVID-19 list. Jackson tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26 and cannot return to practice until Sunday. The Ravens will host the Cowboys on Tuesday night.

Baltimore used third-stringer Trace McSorley — who was recently activated from the COVID list — at the end of Wednesday’s loss to the Steelers. He would be in line to start for the Ravens against the Cowboys, should Jackson require more recovery time.

RG3 struggled against the Steelers but brings extensive NFL experience McSorley obviously lacks. An eighth-year NFL vet, Griffin has been Jackson’s backup for three years. Griffin cannot resume his QB2 duties until at least Week 16.

While the Ravens will be without Griffin for a while, they did receive word Friday they will have more depth available against Dallas. Baltimore activated J.K. Dobbins, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari and Pernell McPhee from the virus list.

The Ravens held Dobbins and Mark Ingram out of their thrice-rescheduled game in Pittsburgh. Both backs tested positive for COVID-19 but would have been eligible to return for Week 12. Dobbins being back in action will be a boon to a Ravens team suddenly on thin ice with regards to playoff qualification.

NFL Postpones Ravens-Steelers Due To COVID-19

Thursday’s game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Now, the two teams are set to meet on Sunday afternoon, though the league will continue to monitor the situation between now and then.

We learned yesterday that Baltimore was dealing with 10 total coronavirus cases, including five players. As Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter), the Ravens have actually had seven players test positive over the past three days: RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins — which we already knew about — QB Trace McSorley, OLB Pernell McPhee, DE Calais Campbell, C Matt Skura, and G/C Patrick Mekari, all of whom will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As such, the league really had no other choice but to push back the game.

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network points out that the league did not make the decision because the Ravens would have been extremely shorthanded. After all, the players who tested positive won’t be allowed to play on Sunday either. Instead, a number of Baltimore players are (obviously) close contacts with those who tested positive, and the NFL wants to make sure the spread is contained (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, things could get worse for the Ravens. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league and the team know how the outbreak began, and there is a chance more players will test positive. By Friday, the NFL expects to know if everything is under control or if the game will need to be postponed again.

If another postponement becomes necessary, this game will likely be the first one set in on the novel Week 18. The Ravens are scheduled to play the Cowboys next Thursday, so the league will not make them play a game on Monday or Tuesday before a Thursday night contest.

Zach Links contributed to this post.