Ravens Rumors

Eric DeCosta On Lamar Jackson Pick

The second of the Ravens‘ two 2018 first-round picks has changed the course of their franchise, with Lamar Jackson becoming an MVP candidate barely a year after he made his first NFL start. Ravens brass took extensive measures to keep their Jackson interest secret. While John Harbaugh has said he discussed Jackson at length with his staff and scouts leading up to the 2018 draft, Eric DeCosta said he and previous Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome did not mention their interest in Jackson to the team’s scouts or coaching staff, according to Peter King of NBC Sports. Nor did the Ravens interview Jackson at the Combine, with Newsome and DeCosta wanting to keep what turned out to be an important secret. The Ravens, however, took a risk on losing Jackson by trading back twice in Round 1. Baltimore selected Hayden Hurst at No. 25 before trading back into the first round, via Philadelphia, for No. 32.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/14/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts

  • Waived from PS-IR: RB Bruce Anderson

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: C John Keenoy

Ravens’ Brynden Trawick To Return From IR

The Ravens have designated safety Brynden Trawick to return from injured reserve, the club announced today. Trawick was placed on IR October 3 after suffering an elbow injury.

Because Trawick is required to miss a minimum of eight games, he won’t be eligible to return to action until Week 14 when Baltimore faces Buffalo. However, he can return to practice immediately, allowing the Ravens to gauge his health for the stretch run. Baltimore will almost certainly activate Trawick when able (the club wouldn’t have designated him for return if his health wouldn’t allow), but if it doesn’t, Trawick must remain on IR for the remainder of the year.

An undrafted free agent out of Troy in 2013, the 30-year-old Trawick is essentially a pure special teamer. He’s played only 194 defensive snaps during his six-year career, and just four over the past two seasons. On special teams, though, Trawick is especially valuable, managing at least 300 ST snaps in each of the past five campaigns. Trawick is currently in his second stint with the Ravens, and has also spent time with the Raiders and Titans.

With Trawick now designated for return, the Ravens have now reached their two-player IR/return maximum. Cornerback Iman Marshall returned to practice in late October and was officially re-activated to Baltimore’s roster earlier this week.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Broncos Claim CB Cyrus Jones, Waive CB Coty Sensabaugh

The Broncos have claimed cornerback Cyrus Jones off waivers from the Ravens and are waiving fellow defensive back Coty Sensabaugh, tweets Field Yates of ESPN.com.

Selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2016 draft, Jones has now completed two separate stints with both New England and Baltimore. Nominally a corner, Jones has only played nine total defensive snaps this year. Instead, he spends most of his time on special times — he was the Ravens’ primary punt returner this season, averaging 9.4 yards per return on 12 attempts. Jones could take over for Diontae Spencer as Denver’s return man, and may also add depth in the secondary.

Sensabaugh, 30, appeared in four games for Denver after signing off the street in October. While he’s probably not a household name, Sensabaugh was a fairly regular starter for the Steelers over the past two seasons, starting four games at the tail of end the 2017 campaign and 10 more last year. Football Outsiders was a fan of Sensabaugh’s work in 2018, charting him as ninth among qualified corners in yards allowed per pass and 26th with a 56% success rate (meaning he was effective at stopping opposing wide receivers short of the sticks).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign Justin Ellis, Domata Peko

The Ravens have signed veteran defensive tackle Justin Ellis, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reports (via Twitter). Ellis was a regular member of the Raiders’ D-line since Oakland selected him in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, and he even landed a three-year, $15MM contract with the Silver-and-Black in March 2018. But his 2018 season was marred by injury, and he was released with an injury settlement in October.

And while Baltimore scored its fifth straight win on Sunday, its defensive front was noticeably shaky, perhaps because starting DT Michael Pierce played just three snaps. Pierce exited the game against the Bengals with an ankle injury, and head coach John Harbaugh said that an MRI didn’t reveal any long-term concerns. But as Jeff Zrebic of The Athletic writes, Harbaugh was non-committal as to whether Pierce would be available for this Sunday’s crucial matchup with the Texans, instead calling Pierce’s status “day-to-day.”

In addition to Ellis, the Ravens are adding another free agent DT, Domata Peko, as Zrebiec tweets. The Ravens, who are intimately familiar with the long-time Bengal’s work, attempted to sign him earlier this season, but the two sides were unable to agree on terms at the time. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reports that Baltimore will pay Peko $1MM for the remainder of the season (Twitter link).

Neither Ellis nor Peko are likely to create much of a pass rush in the interior of the line — which Baltimore could really use — but like the Ravens’ earlier additions of linebackers Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort, both are experienced veterans who understand their assignments and who should, if nothing else, solidify the run defense. That will be essential given Pierce’s uncertain health and the fact that the Ravens are putting rookie DT Daylon Mack on injured reserve, per Zrebiec.

Baltimore, at 7-2 and in first place in AFC North, is doing everything it can to keep the second-place Steelers at bay while pushing for a postseason bye. Zrebiec says the club is expected to add rookie CB Iman Marshall to the active roster this week, and given that the Ravens’ kickoff and punt coverage teams have been uncharacteristically unsteady, Marshall may be asked to bolster those units.

In a corresponding move, the Ravens have waived return man Cyrus Jones, per Zrebiec. Jones muffed a punt in the team’s win over the Patriots in Week 9, and Baltimore signed De’Anthony Thomas shortly thereafter. Thomas operated as the kickoff and punt returner on Sunday and will presumably remain in that role moving forward.

The team also waived DE Ufomba Kamalu, per Zrebiec.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens, L.J. Fort Agree To Extension

The Ravens have signed linebacker L.J. Fort to a two-year extension, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (on Twitter). The new deal will pay him $5.5MM in total with $3.25MM fully guaranteed at signing.

The pact more or less came out of the blue. Fort was released by the Eagles just five weeks ago and still has $1.9MM guaranteed remaining on his contract for 2019. Now, he has an early payday and a contract to take him through the 2021 season.

Fort earned solid grades for his work with the Steelers from 2015-2018, per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics. This year, he saw no defensive snaps for the Eagles, but he’s made frequent appearances for the Ravens in recent weeks. In the club’s Week 7 win over the Seahawks, Fort was on the field for 77% of the snaps and he rewarded their confidence in him by registering his first sack of the season.

Next up for Fort and the Ravens – a Sunday showdown with the 0-8 Bengals. In between now and then, he might wind up buying dinner for his teammates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/7/19

Today’s practice squad updates:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Giants

Pittsburgh Steelers

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/6/19

Today’s minor moves:

Miami Dolphins

  • Claimed off waivers (Seahawks): WR Gary Jennings

New York Jets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Promoted from practice squad: DE Kahzin Daniels

NFL Practice Squad Updates: 11/6/19

Today’s practice squad moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Signed: DE Chuck Harris

Kansas City Chiefs

Minnesota Vikings

New York Jets

  • Signed: OL James Murray

Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Workout Updates: 11/5/19

Today’s workout notes:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

  • OL Brandon Hitner

Cincinnati Bengals

Miami Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers