Ravens Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/16/23

XFL additions and other post-rookie minicamp moves led to some action on the waiver wire Tuesday. As other teams add talent from the latest XFL effort, here are the latest NFL moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Rams

Minnesota Vikings

  • Signed: FB Zach Ojile, OL Sam Schlueter

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

A former 60-meter dash finalist at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships, Guidry has bounced around the league. But the Jets are bringing back the young cornerback. Guidry played 28 games for the team from 2020-21. A fellow DB, Westry started two games for the Ravens in 2021; he will relocate to Cleveland.

Jackson, Jennings and Thomas all played in the XFL this season and auditioned for the Panthers at their recent rookie minicamp. The Panthers tried Thomas at both tight end and linebacker over the weekend. Although Thomas played in the most recent XFL effort, he was in Colts camp — under current Panthers HC Frank Reich — in 2021. This is Jennings’ seventh NFL stop. The former Seahawks fourth-round pick has not played in the NFL since his 2019 rookie year in Seattle.

Romo joins a Lions team carrying Michael Badgley as its incumbent kicker. The younger specialist has not yet kicked in an NFL game, but the former Virginia Tech kicker played in the XFL this season, making 17 of 19 field goal tries. This included a 57-yarder.

QB Notes: Ravens, Levis, Colts, Richardson, Rams, Bennett, Hurts, 49ers

The Ravens hosted Anthony Richardson on a pre-draft visit, and GM Eric DeCosta did not shoot down the idea of taking a first-round quarterback. Of course, the Ravens squashed any such contingency plan by agreeing to terms with Lamar Jackson on his record-setting extension. Had that not happened, the team is believed to have been intrigued by Will Levis. The Ravens would have considered Levis with their first-round pick had Jackson not signed, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. Baltimore had pursued Baker Mayfield as well and entered draft week with neither of its top QBs signed beyond 2023. Tyler Huntley is on an RFA tender.

Selecting a quarterback at No. 22 would have both been a leverage play and certainly would have cost the team its best opportunity to add weaponry around Jackson, thus weakening the 2023 Ravens edition. A number of teams were connected to Levis coming into the draft, and trade rumors — centered around teams eyeing a move up for the falling Kentucky prospect — emerged in the late first round and early second. The Ravens now loom as a Levis “what if?” Though, they will probably not be the first team mentioned as a near-miss regarding the strong-armed prospect. Considering Jackson’s contract, Levis may barely be a footnote for the team.

Here is the latest news from the quarterback position:

  • Seeing as the Colts and Titans are in the same division, Indianapolis will probably be the top Levis “what if?” team. The Colts were tied to Levis for weeks ahead of the draft, but they successfully masked their Richardson interest. Even though Richardson’s ceiling enamored Colts brass, Fowler adds Levis had a few fans in Indy’s building. The Penn State transfer might be readier to play compared to Richardson, a one-year Florida starter, though Ryan Tannehill‘s presence in Tennessee may ensure Richardson begins his QB1 run first. Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds was a Richardson skeptic at first, but fellow seventh-year Indy front office staffer Morocco Brown — who primarily scouted the Gators talent for the Colts — made near-weekly trips to Gainesville to chart the athletic prospect’s progress. Ex-Shane Steichen Eagles coworker Brian Johnson, Florida’s OC during Richardson’s freshman year (2020), also vouched for Richardson, per Fowler.
  • The Rams did not consider Levis, per The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue, who notes they came into the draft with a goal of landing a Day 3 passer (subscription required). Despite Levis having played for 2022 Rams OC Liam Coen in 2021, team brass was split on the prospect. Los Angeles ended up with Stetson Bennett via the No. 128 overall pick. This came after the Rams hired one of their former QBs, Kellen Clemens, as a consultant to evaluate Bennett and other arms, Rodrigue adds. Clemens met with Bennett in Georgia before the draft, but even though Bennett is a 26-year-old rookie, ex-Broncos backup Brett Rypien may begin as Matthew Stafford‘s backup.
  • The EaglesJalen Hurts extension (five years, $255MM) laid the groundwork for Jackson’s, and the Ravens QB scored more fully guaranteed money ($135MM to $110MM). But Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio notes the Hurts deal jumps to $157.3MM fully guaranteed by 2025. This is because Hurts’ 2026 option bonus ($49.8MM) becomes guaranteed in stages. Hurts will see $16.5MM of that bonus become guaranteed in 2024, and $30MM of that payout locks in by 2025. These guarantees vest in March 2024 and ’25, SI.com’s Albert Breer tweets. The Eagles ditched Carson Wentz‘s contract less than two years after authorizing it, but they moved back into the QB-paying business with this megadeal.
  • Former Detroit and Washington practice squad QB Steven Montez spent the weekend in San Francisco auditioning at the 49ers‘ rookie minicamp, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Colorado alum served as the Seattle Sea Dragons’ backup, behind Ben DiNucci, who has since signed with the Broncos. The 49ers have four QBs rostered and have not signed Montez.

Ravens To Sign OL Sam Mustipher

MAY 15: Mustipher’s visit has resulted in a one-year deal, as confirmed by Zrebiec (on Twitter). This homecoming will give Mustipher the chance to solidify himself as the Ravens’ backup center behind Linderbaum, and in doing so, allow Mekari to be used at least primarily as a swing tackle. Aside from the competition at left guard, the Ravens’ offensive line is now essentially in place for 2023.

MAY 10: The Bears declined to extend an RFA tender to Sam Mustipher in March, sending the four-year veteran to unrestricted free agency. The two-season starter has remained unattached beyond the compensatory deadline.

One team that traditionally shows regular interest in post-draft free agents — which do not count against the following year’s compensatory formula — has Mustipher on its radar. The Ravens brought in the former Bears starting center for a recent visit, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Mustipher, 26, joins fellow Maryland native Adrian Amos as being on Baltimore’s grid.

[RELATED: Ravens Not Ruling Out Marcus Peters Return]

Chicago had planned for ex-Green Bay starter Lucas Patrick to replace Mustipher at center last season, but Patrick dealt with multiple injuries and only managed five starts. This kept the door open for Mustipher, a Notre Dame product. The 332-pound snapper started 33 games over the past two years, not missing a contest during this run. Pro Football Focus graded Mustipher poorly in 2021 but viewed him as a middle-of-the-pack starter among centers last season, one in which the Bears led the NFL in rushing.

The Ravens have lost multiple interior O-linemen this offseason, seeing Ben Powers join the Broncos hours into the legal tampering period and backup Trystan Colon-Castillo sign with the Jets. The team drafted two late-round O-linemen — Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu (Round 6) and Andrew Vorhees (Round 7) — but a veteran interior presence would make sense. Vorhees, who suffered a torn ACL at the Combine, is unlikely to play this season. Veteran Patrick Mekari remains on the roster, but the versatile player also serves as Baltimore’s backup tackle. The loser of the Ben ClevelandJohn Simpson left guard competition would also represent interior depth, but the Ravens appear on the lookout for a Tyler Linderbaum backup.

The Bears seem to have closed the door on a Mustipher return. After signing four-year Titans starter Nate Davis, Chicago has moved Cody Whitehair back to center and is planning a competition between he and Patrick for the job.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/12/23

Today’s minor moves heading into the weekend:

Baltimore Ravens

Denver Broncos

Washington Commanders

Browns, Ravens, Vikings Interested In OLB Trent Harris; Broncos On Radar

Houston Roughnecks outside linebacker Trent Harris recently received reported interest from the Broncos in the form of a rookie minicamp invitation. The report also indicated that other teams were showing interest, as well, and we now have the names of teams we can tie to Harris, thanks to Chris Tomasson of the Denver Gazette.

According to Tomasson, some of the other teams that extended an invitation to Harris include the Vikings, Ravens, and Browns. The Browns and the Vikings make sense as both teams finished last season in the bottom half of the NFL in sacks. Cleveland was only able to get consistent pressure out of star defensive end Myles Garrett. Behind Garrett’s 16.0 sacks, the Browns’ next highest sack total came from defensive tackle Taven Bryan, who had three.

Minnesota had a much more balanced attack, getting double-digit sack totals out of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith. They were even able to get eight more combined sacks out of backups D.J. Wonnum and Patrick Jones. All are under contract through at least this year, with Hunter and Wonnum entering contract years. Perhaps the Vikings’ interest in Harris is as an eventual replacement for one of the two.

While Baltimore tied with the Saints for fifth in the league in sacks last year, their sack numbers did not consistently come from the outside linebacker position. Aside from Justin Houston, who is no longer with the team, the Ravens’ top sack-getters were defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (5.5), defensive tackle Calais Campbell (5.5) (also no longer with the Ravens), inside linebacker Patrick Queen (5.0), and cornerback Marlon Humphrey (3.0). New defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald seemingly took a page out of former defensive coordinator Don Martindale‘s playbook by manufacturing a pass rush from all over the field.

Landing a strong pass-rushing outside linebacker like Harris could add to the production of a Ravens outside linebacker group that contains Tyus Bowser, Odafe Oweh, and David Ojabo. Harris spent almost two weeks in camp with Baltimore last year, spending all but three days on injured reserve before being released prior to the start of the regular season.

Despite the additional interest, Tomasson reports that the “ball looks as if it will be in (the Broncos’) court.” With XFL players eligible to sign NFL deals this coming Monday, May 15, Harris seemed to say that, if Denver wants him, he’ll be a Bronco. In reference to his Broncos tryout, Harris told the media, “I would assume that if I have a good workout and they want to sign me, I’d stay there.”

Ravens Interested In Adrian Amos, To Move Brandon Stephens Back To Safety

As the Ravens’ Rock Ya-Sin signing showed, a visit not producing an immediate agreement does not mean no interest exists on the team’s part. The Ravens kept in touch with Ya-Sin after a March meeting and signed him last week, shortly after the compensatory period expired.

The same timeline appears to be in place regarding Adrian Amos, who visited Baltimore in late March. Mutual interest exists between the Ravens and Amos, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Signing Amos would no longer count against the Ravens’ 2024 compensatory formula. Considering the Ravens’ long-held value of comp picks, the early-May deadline has always been an important date for the franchise.

A Baltimore native whom Zrebiec notes grew up idolizing Ed Reed, Amos is also on the radar for a second Packers deal. Green Bay would seem to have a greater need at the position compared to Baltimore, which gave Marcus Williams a $14MM-per-year deal in 2022 and drafted Kyle Hamilton in the first round soon after. Though, the Ravens traded longtime starter Chuck Clark to the Jets this offseason. Still, the Packers did not draft a safety until Round 7 and minimized ex-first-rounder Darnell Savage‘s role down the stretch last season. The Packers did sign Tarvarius Moore but cannot match the Ravens’ Williams-Hamilton duo.

Amos, 30, has 122 starts on his resume and has not missed a game since 2017. The Packers gave the ex-Bears draftee a four-year, $36MM deal in 2019, bringing him over during the same offseason in which they poached Za’Darius Smith from the Ravens. With Amos remaining unsigned until May, he likely does not have an offer in that ballpark. But the veteran starter will undoubtedly have a chance to play a ninth season.

Pro Football Focus did grade Amos as one of the NFL’s worst safety regulars last season, but he drew a top-30 mark at the position in every other year of his career. Amos also made a career-high 102 tackles in 2022, registering a career-most seven tackles for loss as well. Amos joins the likes of John Johnson, Logan Ryan, Lamarcus Joyner, Duron Harmon and Ronnie Harrison as veteran back-liners still available.

The Ravens’ Ya-Sin signing does look to be influencing their secondary makeup overall. They are planning to station Brandon Stephens at safety once they begin on-field work this offseason, John Harbaugh said. A third-year player, Stephens worked as an injury replacement for safety DeShon Elliott as a rookie but played only nine snaps at safety last season (as opposed to 330 as a boundary corner), Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes (on Twitter).

Valuing Stephens’ versatility, the Ravens appear prepared to see if the 215-pound defender — a college cornerback and running back — can become an in-house Clark replacement. Stephens’ status, then, could certainly affect Baltimore’s interest in adding Amos.

Ravens Hoping To Extend LB Patrick Queen

The 2020 first-round contingent collectively brought skepticism from teams over the past week and change. A record-low 12 fifth-year options were exercised. Off-ball linebackers certainly felt this doubt — at least, from a financial perspective — as the teams with linebacker options passed en masse.

Isaiah Simmons, Kenneth Murray, Patrick Queen and Jordyn Brooks saw their options declined, putting each in a contract year. The Seahawks are hoping to regroup with Brooks on an extension, but the Ravens used a third-round pick on Clemson linebacker Trenton Simpson. That selection prompted a Twitter reaction from Queen, who recently saw the Ravens give Roquan Smith a record-setting extension.

Prior to Simpson’s arrival and the Ravens’ decision to decline Queen’s $12.72MM option, a Queen trade rumor emerged. But, even with the $20MM-per-year Smith extension and the team choosing Simpson (Scouts Inc.’s No. 54 overall prospect) 86th overall, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta views Queen as a player the Ravens want beyond his contract year.

People want to jump to conclusions [and say], ‘Oh [Simpson] is going to replace Patrick,'” DeCosta said during an appearance on The Lounge podcast (via BaltimoreRavens.com’s Ryan Mink). “I can tell you this. Patrick Queen had a hell of a year last year. Patrick Queen is a very talented, in my mind, Pro Bowl-type linebacker. He’s going to have a great year this year.

We want Patrick Queen on this team; we want to keep him on this team. We will, at some point, try to get him signed, hopefully, to an extension if we can.”

Paying big-ticket contracts to multiple off-ball ‘backers is not exactly a popular roster-building blueprint as of late. The 49ers are the only team with even two ILBs earning at least $8MM on average (Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw). The Bills paid Matt Milano and let Tremaine Edmunds walk. The Colts did not pay up for Shaquille Leonard sidekick Bobby Okereke. The Eagles let both their three-down ‘backers (T.J. Edwards, Kyzir White) walk. Like Philadelphia, Baltimore now has a monster quarterback contract on its payroll. Unless Queen will be amenable to a midlevel extension, the Ravens’ decisions will make it difficult for him to stay beyond 2023.

Queen and Smith formed a top-end ILB duo last season, and the younger defender totaled a career-high 117 tackles and five sacks to help a Ravens team down Lamar Jackson reach the playoffs. Queen, 23, also finished with two interceptions and a forced fumble. Pro Football Focus viewed Queen as making a significant improvement in 2023, slotting him just outside the top 30 among off-ball ‘backers.

The fifth-year option was something that was more based on business and the salary cap economics than actually Patrick Queen and his performance and what he does as a player,” DeCosta said. “He’s a difference-maker for us. When we had Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith last year over the last half of the season, we had a chance to see how dominant our defense could be.”

Teams’ recent option decisions could lead to an eventful off-ball linebacker market forming next year. Devin White requested a trade ahead of his fifth-year option slate; he is due for 2024 free agency. So are Logan Wilson and Willie Gay. This year’s market did not prove fruitful for many parties, falling off after Edmunds’ $18MM-per-year Bears accord. Okereke ($10MM AAV) was the only other linebacker to sign a deal averaging north of $7MM.

For 2023, the Ravens have a deep linebacking group; Simpson and former third-rounder Malik Harrison are in place behind the starters. DeCosta said other teams’ decisions led the Ravens to Simpson, who was not necessarily the team’s target in Round 3. The best-available pick could lead to a big-picture decision involving Queen in the near future.

Ravens Remain Open To Re-Signing CB Marcus Peters

Baltimore entered (and exited) the draft with a roster hole at the cornerback position. They appeared to fill it with the signing of Rock Ya-Sin, but further moves could be coming, including a reunion with a notable veteran still on the market.

Head coach John Harbaugh indicated, via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, that the Ravens could still be in search of an addition to their CB room (subscription required). He specifically named Marcus Peters, who has spent three-plus years in Baltimore, as a potential target. “You don’t close the door on good players and good people,” Harbaugh said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

Peters, 30, was acquired in a trade with the Rams in 2019, a move which proved to be fruitful for Baltimore in their attempt to add a productive compliment to Marlon Humphrey. Peters notched three interceptions in 10 games that year, and signed a three-year, $42MM deal in the offseason. His performance the following season pointed to that investment being a sound one.

The former Chiefs first-rounder racked up four interceptions in 2020, adding further to his status as the league’s premier ball hawk at the position. An ACL tear cost him the entire 2021 campaign, however, and he appeared to be less than fully recovered from the injury this past season. Peters had just one interception in 2022 (the lowest total of his career), while allowing seven touchdowns in coverage and encountering penalty trouble.

The two-time All-Pro did still log a 92% snap share, however, making him a key figure in the Ravens’ secondary. Baltimore was reportedly looking to work out a deal with Peters before free agency, one which would surely come in at a lower figure than the $14MM AAV of his previous one. The Washington product has not received much interest from the Ravens or another team since then, however.

Fifth-rounder Kyu Blu Kelly was the lone addition made at the CB spot by the Ravens in the draft, which led to the expectation that a veteran move would soon follow. To no surprise, Ya-Sin followed up a second visit with the team by inking a one-year, $6MM contract to give them team a new starting option. Peters remains unsigned into the third wave of free agency, along with the likes of Shaquill GriffinEli AppleTroy Hill and Ronald Darby. He may need to find a new home for 2023 depending on where the other top options land, but the possibility remains for Peters to continue his tenure in Baltimore.

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/8/23

Here are Monday’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: WR Tyler Adams, WR Kody Case, T Matthew Vanderslice, DT Jamal Woods
  • Waived: WR Cody Chrest, CB Tyler Richardson, RB Titus Swen, WR Braxton Westfield

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Hatcher and Moultrie join cornerback William Hooper in landing Packers deals after the team’s rookie minicamp. Despite the Packers cutting Coco, Hatcher still has competition to become Green Bay’s long snapper. Matt Orzech, who spent the past two years as the Rams’ deep snapper, remains the favorite for the Packer gig after receiving a $300K signing bonus this offseason, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com tweets. Orzech had been on Green Bay’s radar for years; the team tried to claim him off waivers in 2021.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/6/23

A couple teams have carried on the business of signing members of their draft class through the weekend. Here are the latest rookies to ink their four-year deals:

Baltimore Ravens

New York Giants