Pernell McPhee

Pernell McPhee Underwent Knee Surgery

Placed on IR last weekend, Pernell McPhee will be sidelined for at least two more Ravens games. But the team did not shut him down merely for rest purposes. McPhee is recovering from knee surgery, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

McPhee’s latest knee operation was arthroscopic in nature, giving him a chance to return later this season. The Ravens are indeed hoping they will have him back at some point in December, Zrebiec adds.

Knee procedures are not uncommon for the 11-year veteran. Over the course of his career, McPhee has seen both knees go under the knife for injuries in different years. Before this most recent procedure, he had last seen his knee worked on just before the start of the 2017 season in what was described as a cleanup surgery.

The Ravens re-signed McPhee to a one-year deal just before the start of the season, following a 2020 slate in which he started 13 games and was third on the team with three sacks. The 11th-year veteran returned to the team that drafted him in 2019 after injury-riddled stints in Chicago and Washington.

McPhee’s 2021 campaign has been somewhat quiet. He has tallied just one sack and 14 tackles in nine games this year. But the rotational rusher stands to have a chance to contribute more to the Ravens’ latest playoff push.

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Minor NFL Transactions: 11/20/21

We’ll keep track of today’s stream of minor moves right here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

  • Promoted: CB Gavin Heslop

Tennessee Titans

Ravens Re-Sign OLB Pernell McPhee

In moving their roster to 53 players, the Ravens released a few vested veterans Tuesday. One of them will rejoin the team. The Ravens re-signed Pernell McPhee on Thursday.

The Ravens moving McPhee off their roster allowed them to avoid losing a non-vested veteran on the waiver wire, and after some Wednesday roster moves, the team will have the veteran pass rusher back. The Ravens placed both Miles Boykin and Rashod Bateman on IR, sidelining them until at least Week 4 but clearing two roster spots.

Baltimore re-signed McPhee this offseason, extending this lengthy partnership. A 2011 Ravens draftee, McPhee played four seasons in Baltimore and circled back to Maryland in 2019. He has played the past two seasons there. McPhee has recorded three sacks in each of the past two seasons in Don Martindale‘s 3-4 scheme. The 32-year-old defender started 13 games in 2020 but re-signed for barely the league minimum this year.

After letting more high-profile edge rushers walk in free agency, with Matt Judon signing with the Patriots and Yannick Ngakoue joining the Raiders, the Ravens prioritized keeping McPhee on the low-cost deal. He and Tyus Bowser re-signed this year, and they will team with new arrivals Justin Houston and first-round pick Odafe Oweh among Baltimore’s edge-rushing contingent this season.

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Ravens Reduce Roster To 53

The Ravens cut down their roster to 53 players today, with the team making the following transactions:

Released

Waived/Injured

Placed on Reserve/NFI

The team also announced a handful of previously reported transactions, which you can find here.

Obviously Pernell and Levine are the two major names on this list, but there’s a chance the veterans land back in Baltimore once the team places a handful of players on IR.

Pernell spent the past two seasons in Baltimore, starting 20 of his 22 appearances. In those 22 games, the 32-year-old collected 53 tackles and six sacks. The veteran also started his career with the Ravens before bouncing between the Bears and Washington. Levine, meanwhile, isn’t a stranger to bouncing on and off the Ravens roster, but he’s still managed to miss only one regular season game for the organization since 2013. That missed game actually came in 2020, when the special teams ace finished with only seven tackles.

Ravens Re-Sign Pernell McPhee

The Ravens have re-signed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter). Exact terms of the deal are not yet known. 

[RELATED: Ravens Restructure Marcus Peters’ Deal]

It’s likely another low-cost, short-term contract for the veteran. McPhee, 32, was one of several Ravens edge rushers due for free agency, along with Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Jihad Ward, and Tyus Bowser. Judon and Ngakoue may be the biggest names of the group, but McPhee has been one of the club’s locker room leaders and will ensure at least some consistency heading into 2021.

McPhee appeared in 15 games with 13 starts last season. He notched 34 tackles with three sacks and wound up as the team’s best outside linebacker in 2020, per Pro Football Focus. For his career, McPhee has 246 tackles and 37 sacks to his credit, including time with the Bears and the Washington Football Team.

 

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Ravens To Let Judon, Ngakoue Walk?

After featuring two franchise-tagged edge defenders last season, the Ravens’ pass rush may be in for considerable change in 2021. A sizable chunk of their outside linebacker contributors from 2020 are free agents, and the top two may be set for free agency for the first time.

The Ravens retained Matt Judon via the franchise tag last year and traded for Yannick Ngakoue, who received the tag from the Jaguars before being shipped to the Vikings. Baltimore may let both free agents go, with Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com noting the team is expected to part ways with Ngakoue and will not re-sign Judon.

This would be quite the shakeup for the Ravens, but sticking to a price point with edge rushers is not out of character for the team. Baltimore let Paul Kruger, Pernell McPhee and Za’Darius Smith walk in recent years and said goodbye to Terrell Suggs in 2019 as well. The team also did not match the Jets’ market-resetting offer for off-ball ‘backer C.J. Mosley two years ago.

It would cost the Ravens just more than $20MM to franchise Judon for a second time. Judon said earlier this year a Ravens return would need to line up perfectly, and the longtime Baltimore contributor looks set to be a first-time free agent. It will come at a key point, with the ex-Division II standout set to turn 29 this year. Judon has been a key Ravens rusher over the past four seasons. He made the Pro Bowl in each of the past two. Although the former fifth-round pick does not have a 10-sack season on his resume, he posted 33 QB hits in 2019.

Ngakoue moving on would be less surprising. He recorded three regular-season sacks as a Raven but played sparingly in the team’s two playoff games. This will be the former third-round pick’s first go-round in free agency. The former Jaguars standout will only turn 26 this year.

McPhee has since returned to the Ravens, agreeing to two one-year pacts after each of the past two drafts. The 10-year veteran would like to stay in Baltimore, and Hensley views that scenario as realistic. Tyus Bowser may also be in play to return on a low-cost deal. Derek Wolfe is also a free agent, but the longtime Broncos defensive lineman also wants to re-sign with the Ravens. The team would like the 30-year-old defender back as well, Hensley adds. Still, Judon and Ngakoue departing would create a major need for the team going into free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pernell McPhee Wants To Stay With Ravens

Pernell McPhee wants to extend the latest chapter of his career. After leaving Baltimore as a big-ticket free agent signing several years ago, the veteran pass rusher has resurfaced with his original NFL team as a rotational player. He would like to continue to do so.

The Ravens have nearly their entire edge rusher contingent due for free agency. McPhee joins higher-profile cogs Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue as a free agent-to-be, with Tyus Bowser also on track to hit the market come March.

Of course, the plan is to come back to Baltimore and continue to play some ball, help win a championship and build a dynasty,” McPhee said, via Clifton Brown of BaltimoreRavens.com. “That’s the goal. Myself and my agent haven’t really talked about it yet. I’ve been chilling, taking care of my body. I’ll think about things, but my thought is really just on coming back.”

After battling injuries with the Bears, McPhee returned to the Ravens in 2019. He re-signed on another one-year deal last year. Both accords occurred after those years’ respective drafts. This past season, McPhee served as a starter alongside Judon and matched Ngakoue’s Ravens total with three sacks. McPhee, 32, has recorded three sacks in back-to-back seasons. Last year, however, he posted 15 quarterback hits — his top mark since 2015. He also outsnapped Ngakoue in Baltimore’s divisional-round game.

The 10-year veteran could be a lower-cost option for the Ravens to retain. It would cost just more than $20MM for the team to use its franchise tag on Judon for a second straight year, and Ngakoue figures to have a big market as a first-time free agent. Considering their situation, McPhee’s desire to return might be something to capitalize on as the franchise attempts to craft a new pass-rushing plan.

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Ravens Place Robert Griffin III On IR

The hamstring injury Robert Griffin III suffered Wednesday in Pittsburgh will result in a prolonged absence. This could complicate matters for the Ravens.

While RG3 going on IR would not normally affect Baltimore’s starting lineup, it is not yet known if Lamar Jackson will be ready to return when first eligible to come off the Ravens’ reserve/COVID-19 list. Jackson tested positive for the coronavirus on Nov. 26 and cannot return to practice until Sunday. The Ravens will host the Cowboys on Tuesday night.

Baltimore used third-stringer Trace McSorley — who was recently activated from the COVID list — at the end of Wednesday’s loss to the Steelers. He would be in line to start for the Ravens against the Cowboys, should Jackson require more recovery time.

RG3 struggled against the Steelers but brings extensive NFL experience McSorley obviously lacks. An eighth-year NFL vet, Griffin has been Jackson’s backup for three years. Griffin cannot resume his QB2 duties until at least Week 16.

While the Ravens will be without Griffin for a while, they did receive word Friday they will have more depth available against Dallas. Baltimore activated J.K. Dobbins, Matt Skura, Patrick Mekari and Pernell McPhee from the virus list.

The Ravens held Dobbins and Mark Ingram out of their thrice-rescheduled game in Pittsburgh. Both backs tested positive for COVID-19 but would have been eligible to return for Week 12. Dobbins being back in action will be a boon to a Ravens team suddenly on thin ice with regards to playoff qualification.

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NFL Postpones Ravens-Steelers Due To COVID-19

Thursday’s game between the Ravens and Steelers has been postponed due to a rash of positive COVID-19 tests. Now, the two teams are set to meet on Sunday afternoon, though the league will continue to monitor the situation between now and then.

We learned yesterday that Baltimore was dealing with 10 total coronavirus cases, including five players. As Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter), the Ravens have actually had seven players test positive over the past three days: RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins — which we already knew about — QB Trace McSorley, OLB Pernell McPhee, DE Calais Campbell, C Matt Skura, and G/C Patrick Mekari, all of whom will be placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. As such, the league really had no other choice but to push back the game.

Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network points out that the league did not make the decision because the Ravens would have been extremely shorthanded. After all, the players who tested positive won’t be allowed to play on Sunday either. Instead, a number of Baltimore players are (obviously) close contacts with those who tested positive, and the NFL wants to make sure the spread is contained (Twitter link).

Unfortunately, things could get worse for the Ravens. Per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the league and the team know how the outbreak began, and there is a chance more players will test positive. By Friday, the NFL expects to know if everything is under control or if the game will need to be postponed again.

If another postponement becomes necessary, this game will likely be the first one set in on the novel Week 18. The Ravens are scheduled to play the Cowboys next Thursday, so the league will not make them play a game on Monday or Tuesday before a Thursday night contest.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 11/24/20

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Denver Broncos

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Los Angeles Rams

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: TE Vance McDonald
  • Promoted: TE Kevin Rader

Tennessee Titans

The Jets’ addition of Adams makes a lot of sense after rookie running back La’Mical Perine suffered a high ankle sprain that is expected to sideline him for at least a couple games. A 2018 UDFA out of Notre Dame, Adams played a significant role with the Eagles as a rookie, when he started five of 14 games and carries the ball 120 times for 511 yards and three touchdowns. Despite the reasonably productive first season, he was waived at final cuts last year.