Here are several thoughts on the move:
The first thought is concerning McKinnie's health. He was released by the Vikings after reportedly weighing nearly 400 pounds. I assume McKinnie is closer to playing shape now. Otherwise, the Ravens would not have signed him. But conditioning is something to watch early in the season.
Baltimore has a decision to make with McKinnie and current left tackle Michael Oher. McKinnie has played left tackle his entire career. But his conditioning is in question, he's on a new team, and he has to learn a new offense in about two weeks. All of these factors could make it risky to ask McKinnie to protect quarterback Joe Flacco's blind side in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If McKinnie becomes a quick study, the Ravens could make the switch. Oher is much better at right tackle.
This move reminds me of Baltimore's decision in 2008 to sign veteran offensive tackle Willie Anderson. McKinnie, who will be 32 next month, is not the long-term solution. But the Ravens are trying to make a Super Bowl run this year and McKinnie could be a good short-term rental. Anderson gave the Ravens one good year in 2008 at age 33 before retiring. Baltimore advanced to the AFC title game that season.
Finally, the Ravens realized they couldn't go into the season starting a rookie offensive tackle. Third-round pick Jah Reid might eventually become a good player. But he needs to work on several things before he becomes a full-time starter. Yes, McKinnie's conditioning and work ethic are risks. But at least the Ravens know McKinnie can perform in the NFL at a high level.