Home > Uncategorized > What is Ben Grubbs market value?

What is Ben Grubbs market value?

One of the Ravens most important free agents for the Baltimore Ravens is starting left guard Ben Grubbs, a five year veteran starter on the Ravens offensive line who will making his first trip to the Pro Bowl this year.  This past year he was a key member of an offensive line that did a pretty good job blocking for running back Ray Rice and quarterback Joe Flacco ….most of the time. Grubbs missed part of the 2011 season only playing in 10 games due to a turf toe injury, and the line was clearly affected with him out of the lineup.

The Ravens made it clear they were going to let him test the market when they didn’t lock up Grubbs with a year left on his rookie contract, a practice they have stuck to with any young player they value highly. Based on his career so far Grubbs is in line for a nice payday, but it all boils down to what the market is willing to offer a Pro Bowl 28 year old guard, as to whether the Ravens are in the mix to retain his services.

While Grubbs will not be considered an elite player at his position, he could probably argue he is a notch below on the next tier. I went back and looked at all the recent top guard contracts for reference, and here is what I found:

Logan Mankins (NE) – 6 years $51 million, $20 million guaranteed. (signed 8/10/11, age 29)

Justin Blalock (ATL) – 6 years $38 million, $16 million guaranteed. (signed 7/31/11, age 27)

Davin Joseph (TB) – 7 years $52.5 million, $19 guaranteed. (signed 7/29/11, age 27)

Marshal Yanda (BAL) – 5 years $32 million, $10 million guaranteed. (signed 7/27/11, age 26)

Chris Kuper (DEN) – 6 years $28 million, $13 million guaranteed. (signed 6/4/10, age 28)

Jahri Evans (NO) – 7 years $56.7 million, $12 million guaranteed. (signed 5/5/10, age 26)

Stacy Andrews (PHI) – 6 years $38 million, $3 million guaranteed (signed 2/28/09, age 27)

Chris Snee (NYG) – 6 years $41.25 million, $17 million guaranteed. (signed 6/24/08, age 26)

As you can see for an even elite level guard, you should be paying right around $20 million in signing bonus, along with a deal that averages $6-8 million a year in salary. One very important thing that should be noted with these numbers though, is that all but one of these contracts was an extension and the player never hit the free agent market. Stacey Andrews was the only one who was a free agent, but he was an injury risk after tearing his ACL during the 2008 season while he played under the tag. One other note is Logan Mankins was set to play under the franchise tag when he agreed to an extension with the New England Patriots, and did play under it the year before in 2010.

The franchise tag number for a guard in 2011 was 10.73 million, and while it is projected to go down in 2012 it doesn’t really make any sense to use it since it includes offensive tackle contracts. I don’t see the Ravens using it on Grubbs unless they feel a deal is imminent, and they just need a little more time to negotiate.

One other factor in Grubbs situation is who else is available in the free agent market for 2012, and there are definitely some notable names.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Deuce Lutui (ARZ) – OG
Chad Rinehart (BUF) – OG
Mackenzy Bernadeau (CAR) – OG
Roberto Garza (CHI) – OG
Nate Livings (CIN) – OG
Mike McGlynn (CIN) – OG
Bobbie Williams (CIN) – OG
John Greco (CLE) – OG
Steve Vallos (CLE) – OG
Derrick Dockery (DAL) – OG
Russ Hochstein (DEN) – OG
Ryan Diem (IND) – OG
Dan Connolly (NE) – OG
Stacy Andrews (NYG) – OG
Chilo Rachal (SF) – OG
Jacob Bell (STL) – OG

Carl Nicks (NO)
Jeremy Zuttah (TB) – OG
Jake Scott (TEN) – OG
Kory Lichtensteiger (WAS) – OG
Will Montgomery (WAS) – OG

The one name that sticks out is Carl Nicks, the clear head of the 2012 free agent guard class. Considered one of the top players at his position, he should be in line for a sizable contract and signing bonus, possibly the richest ever.  There are some decent names to fill out the rest of the list, but none that jump out at you as players that will demand a lot on the open market. Grubbs along with Bobbie Williams of the Bengals are probably in the next tier, with the rest falling in line somewhere after them.  Williams market value may be hurt by a suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy that forced him to miss the first 4 game of the season.

According to the infamous Filmstudy, looking back at Grubbs’ grades for the season showed a guy who excelled at run blocking, and was a more than adequate pass blocker as well.  Some feared his toe injury was possibly a season ending turf toe, but he bounced right back after missing 6 games and it doesn’t appear to be a long term issue. With no off the field issues and a clean health record other than the toe this year, NFL general managers should have no problem writing a pretty big check this spring.

From the Ravens perspective they just signed top guard Marshal Yanda to a 5 year contract extension, and while normally that might preclude a team from giving out another one at the same position, Yanda signed an extremely team friendly deal. If Grubbs was willing to do the same I have no doubt the team would love to have him back, but that doesn’t seem likely with only one other premier guard on the market. There will probably be some team out there who will overpay just enough to get him out of Baltimore, much to the disappointment of the fanbase. I think that even with a “hometown discount” Grubbs would be looking for a similar deal to that of Justin Blalock of the Falcons, something in the $16 million guaranteed $40 million total value range over 5 years. On the open market he might be able to push the $20 million guaranteed $50 million total value mark pretty easily on a 6 year deal.

It all comes back to just how much the team values Grubbs vs. how much the market values him, as to whether he is back playing for the Ravens or not. In my opinion with the deal the Ravens struck with Yanda it would be well worth it to retain him, and with the cap situation they can probably afford it. If not they should be looking for a guard in the upcoming draft to fill that hole, as the roster talent at guard is pretty thin without Grubbs in the mix.

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  1. Michael Britton
    May 30, 2012 at 3:50 am

    Ben “money” Grubber decided to max out the money, no hometown discount, and head to New Orleans. Good luck. At least he shouldn’t begrudge Brees holding out.

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