If Joe Flacco’s back injury from lifting weights is not serious, and if it does not require surgery, then there is really no reason to go out and sign Colin Kaepernick. That’s just my practical opinion.
Then the Ravens just signed veteran Austin Howard to start at right tackle. That costs them $5.5 million this year on the first round of a potential 3-year deal. That pretty much uses up all the available salary cap space at the moment, and there would be not enough money available to sign Kaepernick anyway.
Getting a solid starter with veteran presence at right tackle is probably a smarter investment by the Ravens than chasing after Kaepernick.
I remember Austin Howard as an undrafted rookie, 6-foot-7, 330-pounds out of Northern Iowa, back in 2010 when Andy Reid signed him as a camp project for the Philadelphia Eagles, whom I was covering at the time. He was raw in technique but seemed to have good instincts for learning.
He then landed on the Ravens practice squad at the start of the 2011 season. He spent nearly three months in Baltimore before the New York Jets signed him off the Ravens practice squad and made him their starting right tackle the following season. Howard started all 16 games the next three years.
Howard then signed on with the Oakland Raiders. He was entering his fourth season with the Raiders after signing a five-year, $30 million deal in 2014. But the Raiders released him a week ago. At age 30, Howard is coming off a season where he played through a shoulder injury suffered in training camp and with ankle injuries that plagued him for much of the year. According to CSN Bay Area, Howard had shoulder surgery in January.
The Houston Texans were also interested, and Howard reportedly visited them Thursday before coming to Baltimore.
Assuming he passes his physical, Howard provides a big helping of depth and experience to the Ravens’ offensive line. He started 10 of 11 games on the Raiders’ offensive line last year, which was one of the best units in the league.
The Ravens waived tight end Crockett Gillmore (knee) with the injury designation to make room for Howard on the roster. A team could claim Gillmore, or the fourth-year veteran will revert to the Ravens’ injured reserve list.
Ironically Austin Howard does not yet show up on the Ravens first mandatory depth chart released just after his signing. You won’t find Kaepernick’s name here either!–at least, not yet: