Patrick Queen

Ravens Activate 6 Players From Reserve/COVID-19 List

Ahead of a key AFC matchup against the Colts, the Ravens will have a handful of defenders back. They activated six players off their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.

Patrick Queen, DeShon Elliott and L.J. Fort are poised to return to Baltimore’s starting lineup after the team activated the defenders from the COVID list. Each was deemed a high-risk close contact to All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who tested positive for the coronavirus and remains on the COVID list.

Linebacker Tyus Bowser, cornerback Terrell Bonds and linebacker Malik Harrison also came off the Ravens’ COVID list Saturday. Matt Judon came off the list earlier this week.

Humphrey will miss Week 9’s Baltimore-Indianapolis game, but the Ravens having several of their starters back will put them in better position to bounce back after their loss to the Steelers. Baltimore’s defense ranks fifth in DVOA, sitting first against the run.

The Ravens promoted Bonds, a second-year player out of Tennessee State, and linebacker Kristian Welch to their active roster. They also promoted safety Geno Stone as Humphrey’s COVID replacement. They placed wide receiver Chris Moore on IR due to a thigh injury.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/3/20

Today’s minor NFL transactions:

Baltimore Ravens

Chicago Bears

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Tennessee Titans

Extra Points: Stanley, Tate, Broncos, TV

The Ravens and Ronnie Stanley began discussing an extension in February, but after taking a long break prior to an August negotiation resumption, the sides remain without a deal. An understandable reason may be holding up the talks. Buzz has emerged that Stanley is seeking a contract that pays him north of Laremy Tunsil‘s market-reshaping $22MM-per-year pact, Jeremy Fowler of notes (Insider link). Stanley has been diplomatic about the talks, but he is poised to cash in soon. Tunsil, of course, carried unique leverage after the Texans dealt two first-round picks to land him. Stanley, however, is Baltimore’s top lineman and became a top-tier tackle ahead of his contract year. The Ravens will have the option of a pricey franchise tag, in a year when the cap could plummet by a record margin, if they cannot extend Stanley by the March tag deadline.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • In another AFC North matter, one of the Bengals‘ wide receivers may be unhappy. And it is not A.J. Green. The Bengals made Auden Tate a healthy scratch Thursday night, and his agent floated the prospect of a trade. While Deiric Jackson stopped short of saying his client has requested one, it is clear Team Tate is not content. “He was healthy and ready to go,” Jackson said, via CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin. “If they don’t know how to use him, I’m sure there are plenty of other teams that would love to have a weapon like that offensively.” Tate played 15 snaps in Cincinnati’s opener. The Bengals used the 6-foot-5 target frequently last season — when he caught 40 passes for 575 yards — but now have Green back and second-rounder Tee Higgins in the fold. Two seasons remain on Tate’s seventh-round contract.
  • The Broncos have put off major investments at inside linebacker since Brandon Marshall‘s 2016 extension, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the team considered both signing street free agent Christian Kirksey and using its first-round pick on Patrick Queen this year. This is not the first time the Broncos were linked to a first-round likebacker under Vic Fangio. Had they not executed a trade-down for Noah Fant in the 2019 first round, they would have chosen Devin Bush 10th overall. Denver, which cut longtime starter Todd Davis this month, used 2019 breakout player Alexander Johnson and 2018 draftee Josey Jewell as its three-down ‘backers Monday.
  • Phillip Lindsay will not be available for the Broncos against the Steelers. The talented running back is battling turf toe, leaving Royce Freeman as Melvin Gordon‘s top Week 2 backup.
  • Blake Bortles remains a free agent, but the former Jaguars starter and Rams backup is waiting on the right situation to open up, Tom Pelissero of tweets. After starting for five seasons, Bortles threw just two passes in 2019.
  • NFL owners are confident they will have “groundbreaking” TV deals in place by early 2021, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The league was making progress during its negotiations with networks prior to the pandemic, and La Canfora adds that the contracts would likely have been finalized were it not for COVID-19. The next round of TV contracts were expected to be a game-changer for the NFL; projections of a $260MM-plus salary cap within a few years surfaced this past winter. While fanless stadiums amid the pandemic will cut into that short-term growth, teams authorizing big extensions in recent weeks points to confidence in long-term financial stability. The NFL’s ESPN contract expires after the 2021 season; its deals with the other networks are not up until the end of 2022.

Ravens Sign Patrick Queen, Wrap Draft Class

That’s a wrap on the Ravens’ 2020 NFL Draft class. On Wednesday, the club announced deals with first-round linebacker Patrick Queen and third-round wide receiver Devin Duvernay, the final stragglers in their ten-man group. 

Queen put himself on the radar as a sophomore at LSU, but he saved his best for last. In 2019, Queen registered had 85 tackles last season, 12 tackles for loss, and three sacks. A three-down ‘backer with solid coverage skills, GM Eric DeCosta says Queen is a “guy that plays like a Raven.”

While the Ravens address the LB need early, they sat back while this year’s big-name wide receivers came off the board. Towards the end of Round 3, they nabbed Duvernay, a short and speedy receiver with the ability to stretch the field.

The No. 1 priority for us was to get a fast guy,” John Harbaugh said earlier this year (via The Baltimore Sun). “We just wanted to get another fast guy in the offense, a speed guy. One, you got a guy that caught 106 balls. In his career, he had over 160 catches with one drop. That’s what we had in our count. I didn’t see a drop on tape this last year…He’s only 5-[foot]-10, [but he’s a] strong, tough, real competitive guy. He has a little chip on his shoulder.”

Here’s the full rundown of the Ravens’ frosh:

1-28: Patrick Queen, LB (LSU): Signed
2-55: J.K. Dobbins, RB (Ohio State): Signed
3-71: Justin Madubuike, DT (Texas A&M): Signed
3-92: Devin DuvernayWR (Texas): Signed
3-98: Malik Harrison, LB (Ohio State): Signed
3-106: Tyre Phillips, OL (Mississippi State): Signed
4-143: Ben Bredeson, G (Michigan): Signed
5-170: Broderick Washington Jr., DT (Texas Tech): Signed
6-201: James Proche, WR (SMU): Signed
7-219: Geno Stone, S (Iowa): Signed

Draft Notes: Lawrence, Saints, LBs

Carolina may end up losing Luke Kuechly, Greg Olsen, Trai Turner, Dontari Poe, James Bradberry, Mario Addison and perhaps Cam Newton this offseason. Rebuild vibes are certainly coming out of Panthers headquarters, and many around the league expect this to be the team that times its rebuild/tanks for Trevor Lawrence, Matt Miller of Bleacher Report notes. The Clemson phenom has been on NFL radars pretty much since he debuted as a true freshman in 2018, and the much-hyped quarterback will be eligible for the 2021 draft. The Panthers are already believed to be high on Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields — passers who could go Nos. 1-2 next year — and have Matt Rhule signed to a seven-year contract. This would add up to a rebuild commencing, which will make Carolina’s decision at No. 7 this year overall more interesting.

Here is the latest from the draft world, shifting first to the Saints:

  • Since Michael Thomas has emerged as an All-Pro talent, the Saints have been unable to generate much consistency from any of his supporting-cast receivers. A “strong campaign” has emerged within the organization to find a complementary wideout to pair with Thomas, Miller adds. Considering the Saints’ cap situation — barely $9MM in space before the latest Drew Brees re-up — said addition would likely come in the early rounds of this loaded receiver draft. Miller’s latest mock has the Saints taking Clemson deep threat Tee Higgins, but a number of wideouts could be in play for New Orleans at No. 24.
  • A shaky Combine showing has defensive end A.J. Epenesa‘s stock declining, Vic Tafur of The Athletic tweets. Some teams have expressed concern about the Iowa product’s showing, which included a 5.04-second 40-yard dash — at 275 pounds — and limited athleticism during the drills. Epenesa declared for the draft after his junior year with the Hawkeyes, and he recorded double-digit sacks in back-to-back seasons. ESPN’s Todd McShay still has Epenesa as a late-first-round pick, citing his run-defending ability and potential as a power rusher.
  • Linebackers Kenneth Murray and Patrick Queen suffered injuries at the Combine, but both appear on track to recover fairly soon. Both ‘backers sustained the setbacks during their respective second 40 attempts. Queen suffered merely a tweaked hamstring, while Murray also appears to have dodged a serious hamstring injury (Twitter links via Miller and Ian Rapoport of Queen and Murray are expected to be first- or second-round selections.

LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry, Jacob Phillips Declare For Draft

After winning the national championship, a number of LSU players are planning their next move. Center Lloyd Cushenberry III, linebacker Jacob Phillips, and offensive tackle Saahdiq Charles were among the notable members of the squad to declare for the NFL Draft today.

This past season, Cushenberry helped lead a unit that earned the Joe Moore Award for best offensive line. The six-foot-four, 315-pound center started 28-straight games during his time with the Tigers. Thanks in part to the consistency and durability, the lineman could end up being a first- or second-round pick.

Phillips is projected to go around the same range as his teammate. The linebacker had a standout season for LSU, compiling 113 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss. Charles doesn’t have the same draft stock as Cushenberry or Phillips, but he was still a major part of the award-winning offensive line. He missed six games this past season due to disciplinary issues.

LSU had a number of additional players declare for the draft today: safety Grant Delpit, linebacker Patrick Queen, wide receiver Justin Jefferson and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.