Ravens Rumors

Latest On Chargers’ RB Position Battle

The top end of the Chargers’ depth chart at running back is set to look extremely different in 2024. After rolling with Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley for the last four seasons, new head coach Jim Harbaugh and new offensive coordinator Greg Roman will be utilizing a new pair of backs this season.

While the pair is new to Los Angeles, they are no strangers to Roman. Roman was on staff in Baltimore from 2017-2022, spending the last four years of that tenure as offensive coordinator. Roman was in Baltimore when both Gus Edwards and J.K. Dobbins entered the NFL as Ravens, helping the team field a top rushing offense in the league during their time together.

For much of his career, Edwards has never really received the billing as RB1. Sharing a roster with such players as the late Alex Collins, Mark Ingram, and Dobbins, Edwards has always entered the season as RB2. Injuries to those players constantly put the Ravens offense in a position in which they needed to rely on Edwards. Even functioning in a dual-back rushing attack, Edwards has been extremely consistent, reaching at least 700 rushing yards in each healthy season.

Dobbins has not had the same consistency as Edwards. While he has been dynamic in stretches, averaging 5.8 yards per carry in his career and being seen as the Ravens RB1 when healthy, health has been a gigantic hurdle for the Ohio State product thus far. Since appearing in 15 games as a rookie, Dobbins has only appeared in nine of a possible 51 games since. He missed the entirety of the 2021 season, nine games in 2022, and suffered a season-ending injury in last year’s season-opener.

Now, Roman, Edwards, and Dobbins all enter their first years as Chargers. According to Daniel Popper of The Athletic, Edwards is looking set to enter his first ever season as RB1. Popper claims that Edwards so far looks to be “the clear lead back.” Likely a cautious approach to Dobbins’ injury-history, Los Angeles will depend on Edwards’ consistency. Edwards also displayed true RB1 potential last year, recording a career-high 810 rushing yards while finishing third for NFL running backs with 13 touchdowns behind only Raheem Mostert and Christian McCaffrey.

Behind Edwards, Popper believes that there is an open competition for touches, though he notes that Dobbins should be the clear winner, if healthy. Pushing Dobbins for snaps with be rookie sixth-round pick Kimani Vidal, Isaiah Spiller, Elijah Dotson, and Jaret Patterson, likely in that order. Vidal, out of Troy, rushed for 2,793 yards and 24 touchdowns in his final two years of college ball, and his fresh slate in Los Angeles should favor his opportunities if he has a good camp. Spiller and Dotson have seen minimal opportunities in their three-combined years with the team, and that doesn’t seem likely to change now, while Patterson hasn’t seen much action since his rookie year with Washington in 2021.

Chargers fans looking for a glimpse at what they can expect out of their rushing offense should have little research to do other than watching the Ravens’ offensive film of the last five years. If Popper’s perception is correct, 2024 should feature a healthy dose of Edwards as the lead back with as much Dobbins as his body will allow. Vidal will likely get some work, too, should Dobbins not be up for it, while Spiller, Dotson, and Patterson could all earn some time with strong camps.

2024 Offseason In Review Series

As training camps near, the NFL offseason is winding down. Many unresolved matters remain — much of them pertaining to quarterbacks and wide receivers — but teams’ rosters are mostly set. Leading up to Week 1, PFR will continue to add to its annual Offseason In Review series. Here is where our latest offseason examinations stand so far:

AFC East

  • Buffalo Bills
  • Miami Dolphins
  • New England Patriots
  • New York Jets

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West

NFC East

NFC North

NFC South

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers

NFC West

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured GMs

The NFL’s general manager ranks featured some key shakeups this offseason. One of the longest-tenured pure GMs in the game, Tom Telesco, lost his Chargers seat 11 years in. The Raiders, however, gave Telesco a second chance. He now controls the Las Vegas roster. Only Telesco and the Jaguars’ Trent Baalke reside as second-chance GMs currently.

Two long-serving personnel bosses also exited this offseason. The Patriots’ decision to move on from 24-year HC Bill Belichick gave Jerod Mayo a head coaching opportunity but also resulted in Eliot Wolf belatedly rising to the top of the team’s front office hierarchy. A former Packers and Browns exec, Wolf held decision-making power through the draft and kept it on an official basis soon after. While John Schneider arrived in Seattle with Pete Carroll in 2010, the latter held final say. Following Carroll’s ouster after 14 seasons, Schneider has full control.

[RELATED: The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches]

The Commanders changed GMs this offseason, hiring ex-San Francisco staffer Adam Peters, but Martin Mayhew received merely a demotion. The three-year Washington GM, who worked alongside Peters with the 49ers, is now in place as a senior personnel exec advising Peters. Rather than look outside the organization, Panthers owner David Tepper replaced Scott Fitterer with Dan Morgan, who had previously worked as the team’s assistant GM.

Going into his 23rd season running the Saints, Mickey Loomis remains the NFL’s longest-serving pure GM. This will mark the veteran exec’s third season without Sean Payton. An eight-year gap now exists between Loomis and the NFL’s second-longest-tenured pure GM.

As the offseason winds down, here is how the league’s 32 GM jobs look:

  1. Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboys): April 18, 1989[1]
  2. Mike Brown (Cincinnati Bengals): August 5, 1991[2]
  3. Mickey Loomis (New Orleans Saints): May 14, 2002
  4. John Schneider (Seattle Seahawks): January 19, 2010; signed extension in 2021
  5. Howie Roseman (Philadelphia Eagles): January 29, 2010[3]; signed extension in 2022
  6. Les Snead (Los Angeles Rams): February 10, 2012; signed extension in 2022
  7. Jason Licht (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): January 21, 2014; signed extension in 2021
  8. Chris Grier (Miami Dolphins): January 4, 2016[4]
  9. John Lynch (San Francisco 49ers): January 29, 2017; signed extension in 2023
  10. Chris Ballard (Indianapolis Colts): January 30, 2017; signed extension in 2021
  11. Brandon Beane (Buffalo Bills): May 9, 2017; signed extension in 2023
  12. Brett Veach (Kansas City Chiefs): July 11, 2017; signed extension in 2024
  13. Brian Gutekunst (Green Bay Packers): January 7, 2018; agreed to extension in 2022
  14. Eric DeCosta (Baltimore Ravens): January 7, 2019
  15. Joe Douglas (New York Jets): June 7, 2019
  16. Andrew Berry (Cleveland Browns): January 27, 2020: signed extension in 2024
  17. Nick Caserio (Houston Texans): January 5, 2021
  18. George Paton (Denver Broncos): January 13, 2021
  19. Brad Holmes (Detroit Lions): January 14, 2021: agreed to extension in 2024
  20. Terry Fontenot (Atlanta Falcons): January 19, 2021
  21. Trent Baalke (Jacksonville Jaguars): January 21, 2021
  22. Joe Schoen (New York Giants): January 21, 2022
  23. Ryan Poles (Chicago Bears): January 25, 2022
  24. Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (Minnesota Vikings): January 26, 2022
  25. Omar Khan (Pittsburgh Steelers): May 24, 2022
  26. Monti Ossenfort (Arizona Cardinals): January 16, 2023
  27. Ran Carthon (Tennessee Titans): January 17, 2023
  28. Adam Peters (Washington Commanders): January 12, 2024
  29. Dan Morgan (Carolina Panthers): January 22, 2024
  30. Tom Telesco (Las Vegas Raiders): January 23, 2024
  31. Joe Hortiz (Los Angeles Chargers): January 29, 2024
  32. Eliot Wolf (New England Patriots): May 11, 2024

Footnotes:

  1. Jones has been the Cowboys’ de facto general manager since former GM Tex Schramm resigned in April 1989.
  2. Brown has been the Bengals’ de facto GM since taking over as the team’s owner in August 1991.
  3. The Eagles bumped Roseman from the top decision-making post in 2015, giving Chip Kelly personnel power. Roseman was reinstated upon Kelly’s December 2015 firing.
  4. Although Grier was hired in 2016, he became the Dolphins’ top football exec on Dec. 31, 2018

The NFL’s Longest-Tenured Head Coaches

Following 2023’s five-team coaching carousel, this offseason featured a quarter of the jobs becoming available. One HC-needy team (New England) did not put its position on the market, promoting Jerod Mayo, but the rest did. The Patriots’ decision also produced the first shakeup among the league’s longest-tenured head coach list since 2013.

Since the Eagles fired Andy Reid, Bill Belichick‘s Patriots HC stint had run the longest. After a 4-13 season, the six-time Super Bowl-winning leader was moved out of the picture. No team hired Belichick, generating a wave of rumors, and only one (Atlanta) brought him in for an official interview. While Belichick should be expected to take at least one more run at a third-chance HC gig, Mike Tomlin rises into the top spot on this list.

Tomlin is going into his 18th season with the Steelers, and while he has surpassed Bill Cowher for longevity, the steady leader still has a ways to go to reach Chuck Noll‘s 23-season Pittsburgh benchmark. Tomlin, 52, enters the 2024 season 17-for-17 in non-losing seasons, separating himself from his predecessors in that regard.

Belichick’s ouster brought far more attention, but his Patriots predecessor also slid out of the HC ranks after a 14-year Seattle stay. Pete Carroll‘s third HC shot elevated the Seahawks to their franchise peak. No Hawks HC comes close to Carroll’s duration, and while the Super Bowl winner was interested in remaining a head coach, no team interviewed the 72-year-old sideline staple.

Belichick and Carroll’s exits leave only Tomlin, John Harbaugh and Reid as coaches who have been in place at least 10 years. With Mike Vrabel also booted this offseason, only eight HCs have held their current jobs since the 2010s. A few 2017 hires, however, stand out; Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay and Sean McDermott have now each signed multiple extensions. Now riding back-to-back Super Bowl wins, Reid joined Tomlin in signing an offseason extension.

Here is how the 32 HC jobs look for the 2024 season:

  1. Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers): January 27, 2007; extended through 2027
  2. John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens): January 19, 2008; extended through 2025
  3. Andy Reid (Kansas City Chiefs): January 4, 2013; extended through 2029
  4. Sean McDermott (Buffalo Bills): January 11, 2017; extended through 2027
  5. Sean McVay (Los Angeles Rams): January 12, 2017; extended through 2027
  6. Kyle Shanahan (San Francisco 49ers): February 6, 2017; extended through 2027
  7. Matt LaFleur (Green Bay Packers): January 8, 2019: signed extension in July 2022
  8. Zac Taylor (Cincinnati Bengals): February 4, 2019; extended through 2026
  9. Mike McCarthy (Dallas Cowboys): January 7, 2020
  10. Kevin Stefanski (Cleveland Browns): January 13, 2020; signed offseason extension
  11. Robert Saleh (New York Jets): January 15, 2021
  12. Dan Campbell (Detroit Lions): January 20, 2021; extended through 2027
  13. Nick Sirianni (Philadelphia Eagles): January 21, 2021
  14. Matt Eberflus (Chicago Bears): January 27, 2022
  15. Brian Daboll (New York Giants): January 28, 2022
  16. Kevin O’Connell (Minnesota Vikings): February 2, 2022
  17. Doug Pederson (Jacksonville Jaguars): February 3, 2022
  18. Mike McDaniel (Miami Dolphins): February 6, 2022
  19. Dennis Allen (New Orleans Saints): February 7, 2022
  20. Todd Bowles (Tampa Bay Buccaneers): March 30, 2022
  21. Sean Payton (Denver Broncos): January 31, 2023
  22. DeMeco Ryans (Houston Texans): January 31, 2023
  23. Shane Steichen (Indianapolis Colts): February 14, 2023
  24. Jonathan Gannon (Arizona Cardinals): February 14, 2023
  25. Jerod Mayo (New England Patriots): January 12, 2024
  26. Antonio Pierce (Las Vegas Raiders): January 19, 2024
  27. Brian Callahan (Tennessee Titans): January 22, 2024
  28. Jim Harbaugh (Los Angeles Chargers): January 24, 2024
  29. Dave Canales (Carolina Panthers): January 25, 2024
  30. Raheem Morris (Atlanta Falcons): January 25, 2024
  31. Mike Macdonald (Seattle Seahawks): January 31, 2024
  32. Dan Quinn (Washington Commanders): February 1, 2024

Ravens CB Marlon Humphrey Facing Uncertain Post-2024 Future?

Marlon Humphrey has been a mainstay in the Ravens’ secondary since the latter portion of his rookie campaign. The Pro Bowl corner is set to remain a key figure for the team’s defense in 2024, but his future beyond that point could be in the air.

Humphrey exceled while playing out his rookie contract, earning first-team All-Pro acclaim during the 2019 campaign. His success that year helped pave the way for a five-year, $97.5MM extension inked in 2020. The 27-year-old has remained a full-time starter since then, although injuries have led to missed game action and lowered his effectiveness at times.

Coming off a year in which he led the league in forced fumbles (eight), Humphrey was limited to 12 games in 2021. While the Alabama product rebounded with a fully healthy campaign the following season, nagging injuries led to seven missed contests this past campaign. Humphrey was a part-time participant in minicamp, and his health will be worth watching over the course of the 2024 campaign.

Three years remain on his deal, but no guaranteed salary is in place on the pact after the coming season. Humphrey is set to carry a cap hit of $25.13MM in 2025, and that figure is scheduled to check in at $22.93MM the following year. Considering his impact on the team’s cap, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic writes Humphrey “probably needs” to deliver a productive and healthy campaign to remain in Charm City moving forward (subscription required).

Baltimore’s secondary has seen plenty of turnover in recent years, and the team has taken the draft route to add starting-caliber and depth corners. Brandon Stephens, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Damarion Williams as well as 2024 draftees Nate Wiggins and T.J. Tampa are all attached to rookie contracts. Humphrey – who posted double-digit pass deflections in each of his first five seasons – has seen his ball production wane recently. He has been held to one interception in three of the past four years, with 12 total pass breakups since 2022.

Humphrey’s deal calls for a $4MM roster bonus in March 2025, so any contract-related decisions will likely be made before that. The Ravens would see $18MM in cap savings by designating him a post-June 1 cut next offseason, but plenty of time remains until such a move would be considered. Humphrey’s availability and level of play will be worth watching closely over the course of the coming campaign.

Ravens Rumors: Humphrey, Andrews, Stephens

Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey had one of the toughest seasons of his career in 2023. Pro Football Focus gave him the lowest grade of his career (subscription required), ranking him as the 59th best cornerback out of 127 graded players at the position, and he missed seven games as injuries nagged at him throughout the season.

As a result, it was not much of a surprise to see that Humphrey was in and out of organized team activities and minicamp this spring. That being said, there was still some concern as no information was being dispersed to explain his absences. Humphrey took to his Punch Line Podcast to inform fans and the media as to what the situation was.

“I did Day 1 (of minicamp), and then I took two vet rest days,” Humphrey explained. “I’m kind of on the NBA routine sometimes. Took two rest days, but man, I’m excited.”

Humphrey has been the lone staple in an everchanging Ravens secondary since he was selected in the first round out of Alabama in 2017. He had a healthy 2022 season but has missed at least five games in two of the last three years. The Ravens will hope to keep him on the field more in 2024 as he mentors Clemson-product Nate Wiggins, the team’s first cornerback taken in the first round since Humphrey. After Humphrey missed some of the spring, head coach John Harbaugh expects him to be good for training camp, per team writer Kyle Phoenix.

Here are a few other rumors coming out of Charm City:

  • Aside from several one-year deals, the Ravens have only a couple impact players entering contract years and only one on defense: cornerback Brandon Stephens. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic highlighted Stephens as a potential extension candidate for the Ravens this year. Starting his collegiate career as a running back at UCLA, Stephens transferred to SMU where he excelled at cornerback. Joining the Ravens as a third-round pick in 2021, Stephens was moved once again to safety, starting 11 games in place of an injured DeShon Elliott. In his sophomore campaign, Stephens took a step back in his role, moving back to cornerback behind starters Humphrey and Marcus Peters. With Peters moving on last year, Stephens became a surprise full-time starter, delivering the best season of his career, per PFF. If Humphrey doesn’t bounce back after his injury-riddled 2023 campaign, the Ravens may need to rely on Stephens to lead rookies Wiggins and T.J. Tampa into the future of the cornerbacks room in Baltimore. Stephens plays a premier position with versatility and reliability, and because he has yet to earn any accolades as he’s moved around, the Ravens could potentially sign him to a fairly team-friendly contract to keep him around for a few more years.
  • Zrebiec also mentioned tight end Mark Andrews as a potential focus for contract adjustments, claiming that an extension could be a strong move to lessen the former first-team All-Pro’s cap impact over the next two seasons. On his current four-year, $56MM deal, Andrews is due base salaries of $7MM in each of the next two seasons and will represent a cap hit of $16.91MM in each year, as well. Crafting an extension now could create some cap flexibility in the short-term while ensuring Andrews sticks around for a few more extra years to come.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/28/24

Today’s only minor move comes out of Charm City:

Baltimore Ravens

Since going undrafted out of Temple in 2018, Kirkwood has been a frequent flyer on our minor moves, often signing with practice squads and getting promoted for gamedays. His rookie season saw him start one of eight game appearances and catch 13 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns. While he has yet to reach that success in his career again, he has started five games in the past two years during his second stint in New Orleans, including four last year. In 13 game appearances in 2023, Kirkwood caught his first touchdown since his rookie campaign. He’ll look to win a depth role in a crowded Ravens receiving room.

Ravens S Ar’Darius Washington In Line For Increased Role

Marcus Williams and Kyle Hamilton remain in place atop the safety depth chart for the Ravens, but Geno Stone‘s departure has created a vacancy at the position. While outside additions have been a consideration, the team’s in-house candidates could provide them with a suitable replacement.

The top name in that regard is Ar’Darius WashingtonThe former UDFA has seen his career slowed down by injuries, but he began the 2023 campaign in line for a notable defensive workload. Washington suffered a chest injury which ended his season in Week 2, paving the way for Stone to cement a notable role even when both Williams and Hamilton were healthy. The latter logged snaps at a variety of positions last year, and maintaining his versatility moving forward will require a consistent third safety.

“Ar’Darius has looked really good. I feel great about him,” head coach John Harbaugh said of the 24-year-old’s prospects for an increase role (via the team’s website). “He’s already established himself. He’s played in the games – every game he’s played in – he’s played well. He’s looked great in practice, and let’s get him out there and get him in some more games. That’s the goal.”

Washington has made only eight regular season appearances to date, battling a foot injury which ended his rookie campaign and a number of more established players being ahead of him on the depth chart. The TCU alum has also seen time as a slot corner, a role which has a number of candidates but lacks a full-time starter at this point. Baltimore has veteran Arthur Maulet along with recent draftees Damarion Williams and Jalyn Armour-Davis as options to see a heavy usage rate in the slot.

Washington has also seen time there this spring, but the No. 3 safety role could allow him to showcase his defensive abilities if the Ravens’ scheme remains dependent on using Hamilton in a variety of ways. Training camp will be critical in sorting out Baltimore’s secondary (which also includes rookie safeties Sanoussi Kane and Beau Brade), but for now signs point to Washington having the lead on the largest defensive workload of his career, something which could take the Ravens out of the running for a veteran addition later this summer.

Minor NFL Transactions: 6/26/24

Today’s only minor transaction:

Baltimore Ravens

Aside from re-signing veteran Nelson Agholor and drafting North Carolina’s Devontez Walker in the fourth round this year, the Ravens have opted not to make any big additions to their wide receiving corps after watching Odell Beckham Jr. and Devin Duvernay walk in free agency. Instead, they opted to sign a number of undrafted free agent receivers with the potential to strike gold and find a role player.

Robinson was the definition of a strong role player in college. In three years at Virginia Tech and two at Kentucky, Robinson was productive in every year of play. While he consistently found himself on teams without any stars in the receivers room, he was always a main part of the contributions. The career lows of his freshman year were still an impressive 31 receptions for 404 yards and a touchdown. That said, he never rose significantly past that. He had career highs of 44 receptions (2021), 592 receiving yards (2020), and five touchdowns (2021).

Over his five years in college, all his stats stayed consistently between those numbers. Still, he was able to lead the Hokies in receptions and yards in 2020 and receptions and receiving touchdowns in 2021. He’s a proven contributor who may still be offered a chance to play elsewhere in the NFL.

Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley Addresses Pay Cut, Playing Future

Throughout the 2023 season, Ronnie Stanley dealt with a lingering knee injury which kept him from playing at full health and added further to his missed time. The longtime Ravens left tackle faced an uncertain future entering free agency, but he agreed to a contract revision to remain in Baltimore for 2024.

Stanley and the Ravens agreed to a restructured pact in March, with the 30-year-old reducing his base salary and lowering his cap hit in the process. Incentives and bonuses are present to allow him to recoup that money, but the deal also included making 2024 the final non-void season of the pact. As a result, Stanley enters the coming campaign as a pending free agent. When speaking about his situation, he addressed his mindset regarding the pay cut.

“I just wouldn’t have personally felt good about leaving Baltimore on that note,” Stanley said of potentially being a cap casualty when speaking with The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec (subscription required). “I want to play here my whole career, but even if I’m saying I’ll play one more year for a lot less, it’s because, if this is my last year, I want to go out on a high note. I want to play at the level that I know I can play at. The time that I missed, it would be something that I would have regretted.”

A key factor for the Ravens’ new-look offensive line will be the play of Stanley, a Pro Bowl and All-Pro performer in 2019. He has missed considerable time since then due to ankle and knee injuries, something which has left the Ravens shorthanded on the blindside and led to questions about their long-term plans at the position. Baltimore selected Roger Rosengarten in the second round of this year’s draft, and he could take on the starting right tackle role as early as Week 1 of his rookie season. In the event Stanley were to depart on the open market next spring, Rosengarten – who protected southpaw quarterback Michael Penix Jr.‘s blindside in college – would be a candidate to replace him on the left side. Stanley does not see 2024 as his final NFL campaign, however.

“No, 100 percent, I want to keep playing,” the Notre Dame alum added. “There’s no doubt in my mind. For personal reasons, I view it as a [key] year. I want to personally refuse to have a year like last year… It’s not because it’s the last year on my deal. It’s more because as a competitor, I don’t like not playing to my capability.”

A healthy season from Stanley – who noted his knee has continued to improve this offseason – would help his free agent stock either on a new Ravens pact or a deal sending him elsewhere for the first time in his career. Given the turnover Baltimore has experienced up front, a consistent presence on the blindside would help the team take a step further from last year’s AFC title game loss.