Report: Ravens Expected to Sign Former Steelers OT Alejandro Villanueva to Replace Orlando Brown Jr.
The Baltimore Ravens plan to replace departed tackle Orlando Brown Jr. with former Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva, according to a report by Jamison Hensley of ESPN.
The Ravens traded Brown to the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday, fulfilling the request of the two-time Pro Bowler, who wanted to play for a team that would use him at left tackle. Baltimore has Ronnie Stanley slated to take that spot after missing the end of the 2020 season with an ankle injury suffered against Pittsburgh on Nov. 1.
By trading Orlando Brown to Chiefs, Ravens is expected to replace him at right tackle with Alejandro Villanueva.
Deal likely won't become official until after draft, but Villanueva visited Ravens on Thursday.
So, Ravens add some picks and won't have much dropoff with Villanueva
— Jamison Hensley (@jamisonhensley) April 23, 2021
Instead, the Ravens plan to sign Villanueva, according to Hensley. Villanueva visited Baltimore earlier this week, but did not sign a contract. The Ravens are likely waiting until after the May 5 deadline for signings to influence compensation picks for the 2022 NFL Draft. Signing Villanueva before then would both help the Ravens’ and harm the Steelers’ chances of getting better draft pick compensation for losing free agents.
After trading Brown, the Ravens have the No. 27 and No. 31 picks in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Villanueva, 32, has been the Steelers’ primary left tackle since taking over for an injured Kelvin Beachum mid-season in 2015 and has started 100 consecutive games for the team. He was selected to the Pro Bowl following the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The Steelers originally acquired Villanueva after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles in August 2014. The Eagles had been working out the former Army Ranger and West Point alum at defensive end, but the Steelers moved him to tackle, giving him a year on the practice squad to adjust to the position. The 6-foot-9, Villanueva played tight end, tackle and wide receiver at Army.
The Steelers have already lost 2020 starting center Maurkice Pouncey to retirement and 2020 starting left guard Matt Feiler to free agency. The team does have both 2020 starting right tackles back in the fold after re-signing 2020 Week 1 starter Zach Banner, who suffered an ACL injury in the season opener.
Backup Chukwuma Okorafor started the rest of the season and is returning under the final year of his rookie contract. The Steelers also signed free agent guard/tackle Joe Haeg from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for depth at the position.