After spending five years manning the tackle position for the Baltimore Ravens, Michael Oher has moved on via free agency, signing with the Tennessee Titans on a four-year deal.
The Titans made it official via Twitter:
ESPN's Adam Schefter had the report first:
Titans are signing former Ravens OT Michael Oher to a 4-year, $20M deal that includes $9.5M gtd. Blindside to Nashville.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 14, 2014
Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun provided the financial details:
Michael Oher four-yr. $20M Titans deal: $9.35M gteed, $4M bonus, $2M 2014 salary gteed, $3.35M of $4M 2015 base gteed; $5M bases in '16, '17— Aaron Wilson (@RavensInsider) March 18, 2014
Oher tweeted how he feels:
Extremely happy and excited to be a Titan can't wait to do big things!!! #Titans— Michael Oher (@MichaelOher) March 14, 2014
Oher started at right tackle for the Ravens this past season but struggled, earning a -13.6 rating from Pro Football Focus (subscription required) this season, the lowest of his career, while allowing 10 sacks.
With limited cap space, the Ravens were stuck in the unique position of choosing between their two free-agent tackles, Oher and Eugene Monroe. Ravens head coach John Harbaugh talked about the possibility of keeping both during the NFL Scouting Combine, via Wilson:
I think there's a way, it just depends on the numbers. It all comes down to the math. We've got more salary-cap space. So, that makes it a little brighter situation. As a coach, I would love to see that happen.
But Oher didn't make the cut.
Oher is famously the subject of the novel The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game, as well as the movie adaption starring Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side. Each focus on his early life as a child who spent time between foster care and homelessness before being adopted by Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy in his high school years, when he became a football star.
He would go on to attend Ole Miss before becoming the No. 23 pick in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft by the Ravens.
After being one of the constants on the Ravens' offensive line over the past five years—he has never missed a game in his career—he struggled this season, mirroring the struggles of the team (and namely, the offense) one year removed from winning the Super Bowl.
While Oher can play at left tackle and did so at times for the Ravens during his time there, he has been most effective in his career on the right side. A physical, tough player, Oher is a good run blocker but has struggled in pass protection in his career, as Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes:
Oher hasn't lived up the (sic) expectations of being the 23rd overall pick from four years ago. He never became a top-notch left tackle and has ended up being an average right tackle. Penalties (24 false starts in his career) and pass protection have long been trouble areas for Oher.
Despite his decline in productivity, Oher was a durable player who won a Super Bowl in Baltimore not too long ago. Now, he'll hope to replicate the feat in his new home in Nashville.
Of course, if he doesn't improve his play from a season ago, it could be another long year for both Oher and the Titans.