The Baltimore Ravens figured they secured a core piece of their offense when they drafted Ronnie Stanley back in 2016. The sixth-overall pick, he proved a plug-and-play starter instantly and developed into arguably the league’s best left tackle.

Then right after the Ravens made him the highest-paid lineman, Stanley suffered a severe ankle injury. He quite frankly has never fully healed since then over the past three years, always dealing with some nagging issue.

He even accepted a 50-percent pay cut in order to stay with the Ravens this year because of his struggles. But Ronnie Stanley believes he is finally healthy for the first time since that 2020 injury. And he believes that he still belongs on the top of that pedestal. Of course, he said the same thing at this time last year.

“There’s zero doubt in my head: If I’m playing the way I need to be playing, to my standard, I’m the best tackle”, Stanley said this offseason, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. But the Ravens feel as though they need to see that to believe it as much as anybody else.

Now entering the final year of his contract, Stanley knows he is at a pivotal point of his career. He could potentially be playing his last season if he can’t prove that he is still at the top of his game. At 30 years old, he may just decide to retire if teams aren’t willing to pay him at a high level.

After all, he has already pocketed over $100 million over the course of his career, even after losing $7.5 million. Stanley’s 2020 extension came in at just under $20 million per season, which even four years later would be the fifth-highest among left tackles.

And as far as the Ravens go, they can’t afford too much upheaval right now along the offensive line. They parted with three starters from the group last season, Stanley and C Tyler Linderbaum the only ones remaining. They drafted T Roger Rosengarten at the end of the second round, but he is more of a right tackle.

According to Hensley, Stanley struggled last year, giving up five sacks and committing a career-high 11 penalties. He suffered a knee injury in the season opener, however, which caused him to miss the next three games. Notably, he never played 100 percent of the snaps in a game last year after Week 8. Not even in the postseason.

“We may have been playing well, but it was really killing me on the inside just knowing that I wasn’t playing to my potential”, Stanley said. “That’s something that is harder for me to live with. But, moving on from last year, I feel very good about this upcoming season”.

He needs to for his own sake, and the Ravens do, as well. This is a team with Super Bowl aspirations, and they are already adjusting to major changes on the offensive line. Stanley needs to be a source of stability, the way he was in the first half of his career. The way he has not been for the past four years.


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