General Manager Eric DeCosta’s initiative to retain young talent continues.
Late Wednesday night, Baltimore Ravens team reporter Ryan Mink sent out a tweet that got people talking.
No, but the player the Ravens did reach an agreement with plays a crucial role on Baltimore’s run-heavy offense. Just after 4:00 AM on Thursday morning, NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport revealed that tight end Nick Boyle would be the lucky man addressing the media for Thursday’s presser.
A few hours later, the Ravens confirmed the news.
The three-year deal amounts to $18 million with $10 million in guaranteed money. Despite Boyle’s career receiving total equaling 613 yards with no touchdowns, a number of NFL teams reportedly showed interest in Boyle’s services during the NFL Scouting combine which wrapped up earlier this week.
Boyle isn’t a speedy tight end who’s a big threat in the passing game. What he does in the trenches as a blocker is what he’s known for. Boyle’s role in the Ravens offense flew under the radar when Lamar Jackson took over as the starting quarterback. Boyle was already known as a great run-blocker. His blocking abilities became more exemplified as the Ravens changed their offense to support Jackson’s style.
The Ravens already knew Boyle’s value in their scheme. As they found other teams expressing interest in Boyle, retaining him became a higher priority. Luckily for DeCosta, working out a new contract with the fourth-year tight end out of Delaware wasn’t too difficult. According to Boyle, he loves playing for the Ravens and didn’t want to go anywhere else.
Boyle hasn’t been a perfect player during his first four seasons with the Ravens. He’s been suspended twice for taking performance-enhancing drugs. The most recent suspension took place before the 2016 season, resulting in Boyle sitting out the first 10 games.
Since then, his slate has been clean. Boyle has missed just one game in the past two seasons. Fellow tight end Maxx Williams, drafted the same year as Boyle three rounds earlier, is set to hit free agency next week. Even though Boyle hasn’t always been available, Williams has never played in a full 16-game season, dealing with several injuries to his lower extremities. Taking that into account with Boyle being the better blocker of the two, the Ravens made the right decision.
Tight end was the weakest link on Baltimore’s roster entering the 2018 offseason. With Boyle re-signed along with Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst entering their second seasons, tight end is arguably the most stable position on the team’s offense.
All three tight ends will be expected to block, whether that’s along the offensive line or outside as receivers. Andrews and Hurst both flashed in the passing game last season and will carry that experience into 2019. Boyle’s caught 75 balls in four seasons, but his best play comes along the line as a blocker.
Overall, this is another smart move by DeCosta and the Ravens. Boyle knows the system and always wanted to stay in Baltimore. He’s a great fit for this offense, he’s good at what he does, and he wasn’t expensive to bring back. What’s not to like?
So far this offseason under DeCosta, the Ravens have resigned Boyle, extended Tavon Young, cut Eric Weddle, Michael Crabtree, and Alex Collins, and reached an agreement with the Denver Broncos to trade Joe Flacco. All of these moves have been financially responsible, just as DeCosta said they would be during his introductory press conference as the new GM.
There’s still a lot of work to do with free agency kicking off next week. Will the Ravens pay Mosley after not using the franchise tag on him? Will Jimmy Smith become the next cap casualty? Do the Ravens make a run at Le’Veon Bell or trade for a big-name offensive weapon? Is another contract extension in the works? The possibilities are endless, and the action will only intensify when the 2019 NFL calendar officially begins in six days.
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