A late report this Friday evening, Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tweeted that defensive lineman Brent Urban will rejoin the team that drafted him, crediting Urban’s wife in the report. Urban reportedly agreed to a one-year deal to return to Baltimore.
Urban was drafted by the Ravens in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Virginia. Due to a torn ACL, followed by a torn bicep, Urban didn’t make his NFL debut until Week 12 of his sophomore season, blocking a potential game-winning field goal that was returned by teammate Will Hill for a game-winning touchdown as time expired.
Urban earned the starting job at right defensive end to begin his third season, but a Lisfranc foot injury sidelined him for the season after only three games. In his contract year, Urban finally got to play an entire healthy season, starting every game of the year for Baltimore.
The next season, Urban followed defensive coordinator Dean Pees from Baltimore to Tennessee, signing with the Titans. After four games of backup duty, he was released but promptly picked up by the Bears, who needed to replace injured defensive end Akiem Hicks. Chicago re-signed Urban for another year, in which he earned eight starts filling in for another injured-Bear, Roy Robertson-Harris. Last year, Urban signed with the Cowboys starting four of the six games he appeared in before once again being placed on injured reserve in late October.
Urban will have to work to earn a roster spot in Baltimore. On the interior, Baltimore re-signed Calais Campbell and brought back another former-Raven in Michael Pierce. They also drafted Travis Jones who is expected to compete as a rookie for playing time with other recent draft picks Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington. At defensive end, Baltimore will utilize Odafe Oweh and Jaylon Ferguson to rush the passer. Derek Wolfe is on roster as a plus run-defender.
Baltimore mixes up the defensive alignments, with Campbell lining up all over the line and pass rushers like Oweh, Ferguson, and linebacker Tyus Bowser alternating between standing up and putting a hand in the dirt. The lack of options on the outside of the line could provide Urban an opportunity to stake his claim to a roster-spot next season.
Urban’s unfortunate injury-history is a potential red-flag for the deal, especially after Baltimore watched a hip injury sideline Wolfe for the entire 2022 NFL season. Wolfe and Urban will play similar roles on the Ravens’ defense, so the addition of Urban may serve both players to share playing time and not put too much of a load on the recovering linemen.