You may have noticed that we are in a period during the NFL calendar in which there is not going to be a whole lot of news to be made. There may be a couple of contract extensions to report, of the more routine nature, sure. And the deadline to work out long-term contracts for franchised players is coming up, but not for another three weeks or so.
So when former Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Zachary Orr announced after originally planning to retire after three seasons that he intends to resume his career, it generated quite a bit of excitement. Not just around here—this is our third article on the topic (second by me) in the three days since it happened)—but around the league.
According to Orr’s agent, he has already spoken to 15 teams, or nearly half of the league, and has already taken a visit with the Lions. He intends to take as many visits as possible before he reaches a decision about where to play, and truthfully, nearly a month out of training camp, there is no rush.
One team that doesn’t initially appear to be throwing their hat in the ring is the Ravens themselves, which is somewhat ironic given that, had he not intended to retire, they would have been able to tag him with a restricted free agent tender to keep him, because he only had three years of accrued experience.
Because they did not do so—because they believed he was going to retire, even though he did not file papers—the deadline to apply the tender passed, and with that window closing, players not tagged became unrestricted free agents who are able to sign with anybody.
But there is internal conflict within the Ravens organization, according to Jamison Hensley of ESPN, about whether or not they should pursue them, with a large contingent holding the belief that it’s time for them to move on as they had planned.
His agent told 105.7 in Baltimore that “there are a lot of variables that the Ravens are having to deal with”. He added, “there’s a lot of internal consternation. One side of the line fighting to get Zach Orr back, and another line saying we need to move on”.
Truthfully, it may not matter whether or not they throw their hat in the ring, because they don’t have a lot of salary cap space, and for a fourth-year player who posted 132 tackles and three interceptions in his first season as a starter, even with an injury concern, there is going to be a market.
It will be interesting to see where he winds up. It is certainly not inconceivable that the Pittsburgh Steelers could at least express interest, though there has been no wind of them doing so. They lost Lawrence Timmons in free agency and are at this point moving forward with Vince Williams. They are content to do so, but they did make the effort to find an alternative during free agency.