Reports of Marshal Yanda’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. The Baltimore Ravens All-Pro right guard was the subject of some speculation this offseason that he might retire following a long and successful career that includes over 150 starts, a Super Bowl ring, and numerous individual accolades.
In response, the Ravens announced that they have agreed to a one-year contract extension with the 34-year-old that keeps him under contract through the 2020 season. Yanda is the only one of Baltimore’s starters on the offensive line operating beyond their rookie contract.
“If you could define a Raven, you’d put a picture of Marshal Yanda up there”, Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta said. “We love Marshal. We’d love to see Marshal continue to play for us for years. He’s a great player that’s still playing at a high level”.
Yanda suffered a season-ending ankle injury in just the second game of the 2017 season, but he came back strong a year ago, which included a Pro Bowl and a nod to the second-team All-Pro team. He is a seven-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro in his 12 seasons.
According to the article on the team’s website announcing the extension, the veteran guard was a fan of the offense’s shift to a focus on the run game once 2018 first-round pick Lamar Jackson took over at quarterback, and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman is gearing the offense to specialize in that even further in 2019.
Entering the 2018 season, the Ravens had largely struggled, posting an overall 40-40 record between 2013 and 2017, only reaching the postseason one time during that span, and were on a three-year streak without a playoff berth.
It looked to be another lost year in 2018 after Baltimore got off to a 4-5 start with Joe Flacco under center, but a hip injury proved fortuitous in passing the baton to Jackson, under whom they finished the season 6-1 and secured a playoff berth in the final week of the season.
Their offense would go on to average something like 250 rushing yards per game in the seven starts Jackson made during the regular season. He was part of that himself, setting a new NFL record for the most rushing attempts by a quarterback in a season, but the charge was led primarily by Gus Edwards, an undrafted rookie, and later Kenneth Dixon.
This year, the Ravens spent in free agency to bring in Mark Ingram, the most established running back they have had on their roster since Ray Rice, so the focus is clearly oriented toward the running game, and Yanda’s willingness to sign an extension is being taken as a sign of his approval. He excelled in the running game, even though he is also an elite pass protector.