Patrick Onwuasor

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Njoku, Bengals

The Ravens‘ pattern of letting edge rushers walk in free agency included the departures of both Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith this year. Baltimore’s defense has allowed 500-plus yards the past two weeks. While the Ravens attempted to patch up their edge-rushing need with post-draft additions of Pernell McPhee and Shane Ray (since cut), they were on the lookout for higher-profile players earlier in free agency. In addition to their Ziggy Ansah and Gerald McCoy meetings, the Ravens expressed interest in Justin Houston and Clay Matthews, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Houston landed in Indianapolis, and Matthews has five sacks with the Rams (after a 3.5-sack 2018). The Ravens also made an offer to former Bengals and Broncos nose tackle Domata Peko this week, Zrebiec tweets. But it likely was not up to Peko’s liking, with the 13-year veteran still unsigned.

Baltimore also recognized this need early in the draft, with Zrebiec adding the team pursued several of the acclaimed first-round defensive linemen. But the ones the Ravens sought were evidently gone by the time they selected Marquise Brown.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Prior to the season’s outset, the Ravens discussed an extension with starting inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor, according to Zrebiec. C.J. Mosley‘s former wing man, a third-year starter, has not played particularly well in his contract year. Onwuasor rates as a bottom-10 off-ball ‘backer, in the view of Pro Football Focus.
  • David Njoku expects to return from IR this season. The Browns tight end was dealing with a broken wrist and a concussion, but the third-year tight end is out of concussion protocol, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal tweets. The Browns will be without Njoku for at least six more weeks.
  • Cordy Glenn has missed every Bengals game this season and remains in concussion protocol. Obviously, this is a concerning situation for the veteran tackle. But Zac Taylor does expect the second-year Bengal to play this season, with Geoff Hobson adding (via Twitter) Glenn was attending a doctor’s appointment today. Andre Smith has struggled replacing Glenn, who was moved back to tackle (from his short-term left guard post) because of Jonah Williams‘ offseason injury.
  • Down A.J. Green and John Ross, the Bengals are scrambling at wide receiver. They worked out free agent DaMarkus Lodge, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). This marks the Bengals’ first receiver workout since Ross’ latest injury. He is expected to be out for a few games. Lodge is a rookie UDFA out of Ole Miss.

AFC Notes: Hill, Funchess, Ravens, Jets

In May, Roger Goodell said the NFL would not interfere with the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ Tyreek Hill investigation, indicating the league would interview the Chiefs wide receiver “whenever we have permission to.” It is unclear if the Kansas DCF’s investigation has concluded, but if it has not, the news about NFL investigators meeting with Hill represents a reversal and, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, perhaps an acknowledgement by the league something needs to transpire on this front by the time the Chiefs report to training camp July 23. While the investigation is likely covering the bruises and welts that appeared on the body of Hill’s 3-year-old son, Florio notes Hill’s history of violence, and the comment his fiance needing to worry about more possible violence, will almost certainly result in a Hill suspension. Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith was suspended four games in 2018 for threatening and the mother of his child and “engaging in emotional abuse.” With audio evidence having surfaced in this case, and Hill not being punished for his admitted 2014 violence against Crystal Espinal, that would seem to be the baseline for his potential punishment.

Here is the latest out of the AFC:

  • John Harbaugh has committed to Patrick Onwuasor returning as a starting linebacker for a revamped Ravens defense, but the 12th-year HC has not made a decision on C.J. Mosley‘s successor. While former UDFA Chris Board has impressed, Harbaugh indicated a committee is the likely post-Mosley plan. Harbaugh said (via Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com) Board will probably join 2018 fourth-rounder Kenny Young and hybrid safety Anthony Levine alongside Onwuasor in sub-packages. Young led the trio with 381 linebacker snaps last season; Board played just 21.
  • Onwuasor may be the best bet for the young defender who signs a Ravens extension, per Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic (subscription required). With emerging sack artist Matt Judon perhaps in line to continue a trend of edge rushers pricing themselves out of Baltimore and nose tackle Michael Pierce coming to Ravens minicamp at least 25 pounds overweight, in Zreibec’s view, the Ravens preventing their top inside linebacker from following Mosley out of Maryland seems logical. A former UDFA, Onwuasor has started 26 games. He graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 40 linebacker last season.
  • Devin Funchess has put together an inconsistent career thus far and went through most of the Colts‘ offseason program without working with Andrew Luck, who was sidelined with a strained calf. But Frank Reich said (via Kevin Bowen of 107.5 The Fan) he is “very encouraged” by Funchess’ route-running, for a player his size, and his overall progress in his system. Reich lobbied early for Funchess in March, and the former Panthers target will almost certainly play a big role for the Colts this season.
  • Another AFC free agent signing, Brian Poole, looks aimed toward a big role in his first AFC season. The Jets have used the former Falcons slot cornerback both inside and outside this offseason, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. Gang Green did not bring in a proven outside starter opposite Trumaine Johnson, and Morris Claiborne remains a free agent. While another corner will have to step up to join the duo in nickel sets, Poole appears set for a steady gig in New York.

Ravens LB Patrick Onwuasor Signs RFA Tender

Ravens linebacker Patrick Onwuasor has signed his second-round restricted free agent tender, the club announced today. Running backs Gus Edwards and De’Lance Turner, center Matt Skura, and offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor all signed their exclusive rights free agent tenders, per Baltimore.

Onwuasor, 26, has started 25 games for the Ravens over the past two seasons, but didn’t top 60% playing time in either of those campaigns. That’s likely to change in 2019, as Onwuasor is expected to become Baltimore’s top linebacker following the departure of free agent C.J. Mosley. Last year, Onwuasor posted 59 total tackles, 5.5 sacks, and one interception while grading as the NFL’s No. 40 linebacker among 92 qualifiers, per Pro Football Focus, which assigned Onwuasor a top-15 coverage grade among LBs.

Following a solid 2018 season, a rival team could have theoretically expressed interest in signing Onwuasor to an offer sheet. However, that would have forced said club to sacrifice a second-round pick and give Onwuasor a large enough contract to dissuade the Ravens from matching. Instead, the former undrafted free agent is now scheduled to earn $3.095MM for the upcoming campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/8/19

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive rights free agent tender decisions:

RFAs

Second round tender:

Tendered at original-round level:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Minor NFL Transactions: 4/17/18

Today’s minor moves:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Green Bay Packers

Los Angeles Rams

New York Jets

Seattle Seahawks

RFA/ERFA Tender Decisions: 3/14/18

Here are today’s restricted free agent and exclusive-rights free agent tender decisions, with the list being updated throughout the day. All links go to Twitter unless otherwise noted:

RFAs

Tendered at the second-round level ($2.914MM):

Tendered at original round level ($1.907MM):

Non-tendered:

ERFAs

Tendered:

Non-tendered:

Minor NFL Transactions: 5/9/17

Today’s minor moves:

Baltimore Ravens

Kansas City Chiefs

New York Jets

  • Waived: WR Deshon Foxx

Oakland Raiders

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Waived: LS Dax Dellenbach (Twitter link via Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times)

Ravens Waive Billy Turner

The Ravens have waived offensive lineman Billy Turner and promoted inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor to take his roster spot, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter links).

Billy Turner (featured)

Two teams have now cut Turner this week. The Dolphins waived the soon-to-be 25-year-old on Tuesday after failing to find a taker via trade for him, leading the Ravens to claim him Wednesday. A 2014 third-round pick, Turner amassed 20 appearances and 14 starts during two-plus years in Miami. Through five games and two starts this season, Pro Football Focus rates Turner as the second-worst tackle in the NFL among 76 qualifiers.

Onwuasor signed with the Ravens in May as an undrafted free agent from Portland State. He’ll now make his pro debut as primarily a special teamer, per Zrebiec. Football Outsiders ranks Baltimore’s special teams unit a below-average 20th in the league.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign Seven Draftees, 11 UDFAs

Like a number of other teams around the league, the Ravens made an effort to get plenty of contracts done before their rookie minicamp got underway, securing seven of their 11 draftees, and adding another 11 undrafted free agents to their roster.

The Ravens confirmed today that they’ve signed fifth-round defensive end Matt Judon, whose agreement was reported earlier this week, and announced that they’ve locked up six other draft picks, writes Ryan Mink of BaltimoreRavens.com. Sixth overall pick Ronnie Stanley remains unsigned, as do Bronson KaufusiTavon Young, and Keenan Reynolds. However, the following Baltimore draftees are now under contract, having signed their four-year rookie deals:

In a separate press release on their website, the Ravens also listed their 11-man UDFA class, complete with a scouting report for each player. Here are Baltimore’s UDFA additions: