Brandon Stephens

Ravens Notes: Biegel, Linderbaum, Ojabo, Roster Bubble

Vince Biegel‘s season has ended before it even started. The Ravens linebacker suffered a torn Achilles on Thursday and will miss the 2022 season, per the team’s website.

The linebacker has bounced around the NFL during his four years in the league, spending time with the Packers, Saints, and Dolphins. Following a 2020 season where he compiled 59 tackles and 2.5 sacks in a career-high 15 games (10 starts) with the Dolphins, he was limited to only two tackles in five contests with Miami in 2021. He caught on with the Ravens this offseason, and according to Ryan Mink of the team website, Biegel had made a strong impression during the first few days of camp.

“Vince was fighting to make the team,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He would have had a great chance to make it, because he’s just a solid, tough, talented guy who does everything exactly right as hard as he can.”

The Ravens were already eyeing a depleted linebackers depth chart with Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo sidelined. The team’s current options consist of Odafe Oweh, Justin Houston, Daelin Hayes, Steven Means, and a handful of rookies.

More notes out of Baltimore:

  • Fortunately, there was some good news on the Ravens’ injury front. While first-round rookie center Tyler Linderbaum limped off the field during practice, an X-ray confirmed he avoided a major injury. “He’s going to be fine,” Harbaugh said (via Mink). “Didn’t get stepped on, kind of just … It’s a physical drill there, and [he] came up a little sore. They’ve looked at it, X-rayed it. They’ll do an MRI on it to make sure, but all indications are it’s nothing serious at all.” Beside the rookie, the Ravens have veteran Patrick Mekari to step in at center.
  • We previously heard that Ojabo’s brief holdout was an attempt to get more guaranteed money in the third year of his rookie contract. According to ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), the rookie ended up getting $700K of that 2024 base salary guaranteed. As our own Ely Allen previously pointed out, the player selected just before Ojabo at 44th overall is John Metchie III, who received $800,000 (55.61%) of his third year guaranteed. The pick immediately after Ojabo at 46th overall is Joshua Paschal, whose guaranteed third-year money dropped dramatically to $275,000 (22.02%).
  • Guard Ben Powers could find himself on the trade block depending on the status of Ben Cleveland and Tyre Phillips, writes Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. Powers has 19 career starts, so he’d surely appeal to a squad seeking some guard depth. Meanwhile, Zrebiec writes that running back Mike Davis could be fighting with Tyler Badie and Justice Hill for two open roster spots. The veteran was brought in this offseason to provide some depth while J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards return to full health, but he may not be needed if the duo is ready for the start of the season.
  • In a stock report of Baltimore’s minicamp, Zrebiec provides a handful of interesting tidbits related to the Ravens. Fourth-round rookie Isaiah Likely will find himself behind Mark Andrews on the depth chart, but he also “seems close to certain to have a notable Week 1 role with the Ravens.” Meanwhile, versatile defensive back Brandon Stephens has been preparing to play cornerback after starting 11 games at safety last season.
  • The Ravens’ other fourth-round rookie tight end, Charlie Kolar, had sports hernia surgery earlier this week, per Zrebiec. “It’s a thing that was lingering from college,” Harbaugh said. “He actually had a sports hernia from college, had a surgery. They’re going to redo that one as well. We’ll get it cleaned up now. I think he felt like he could manage it, but it’s gotten to the point where it needs to be fixed.”

Ravens Sign Brandon Stephens, Wrap Draft Class

That’s a wrap. On Wednesday, the Ravens inked third-round defensive back Brandon Stephens to his rookie deal. With Stephens taken care of, the Ravens now have their entire 2021 draft class in the fold.

Stephens began his collegiate career as a running back at UCLA. Then, he transferred to SMU, switched to the secondary, and put himself on the NFL’s radar. Last year, Stephens notched ten passes defensed to lead the American Athletic Conference and also came away with one interception. Between ’19 and ’20, he batted down 22 passes in total, showing the length and coverage skills needed to make it at the next level.

Stephens spent most of his time on campus as a cornerback, but the Ravens believe that he can play both corner and safety. As the No. 104 pick, he’s slotted for a four-year, $4.8MM deal. That sum includes an $840K signing bonus with escalating salaries from now through 2024.

With less than a week to go before rookies report for duty, here’s the full recap of the Ravens’ 2021 class:

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/3/15

Today’s minor moves and signings in the NFL..

  • Cowboys linebackers Justin Anderson and guard Reshod Fortenberry were waived/injured, Clarence Hill of the Star-Telegram tweets. Linebackers Jonathan Brown and Ka’Lial Glaud were signed.
  • The Patriots have agreed to bring back second-year linebacker Cameron Gordon to address some depth concerns, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. The Patriots also announced that they have claimed guard Harland Gunn off waivers from the Falcons.
  • The Chiefs announced that they have signed former Missouri wide receiver L’Damian Washington.
  • The Patriots waived-injured Kevin Hughes and cut Vince Taylor with a failed physical designation, Wilson tweets.
  • The Packers announced that they have signed wide receiver Ed Williams.
  • The Cowboys waived-injured Justin Jackson, who tore his ACL over the weekend, Wilson tweets.
  • The Broncos signed wideout Corbin Louks, Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post tweets. Louks, who was cut by the Chiefs in May, will fill the roster spot previously filled by Kyle Williams, who has hit the IR.
  • The Chargers signed former Packers defensive tackle Luther Robinson, Wilson tweets.
  • The Browns announced that they have signed running backs Timothy Flanders and Jalen Parmele and waived wide receiver Kevin Cone and defensive back Brandon Stephens, Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal tweets.
  • The Bills have signed free agent cornerback Merrill Noel, according to Vic Carucci of The Buffalo News (on Twitter). Noel was released by Buffalo back in June.

Earlier Updates:

  • The Chiefs waived backup defensive tackle Jerel Worthy, as Blair Kerkhoff of The Kansas City Star tweets. Worthy signed a futures deal with KC back in December. Worthy, a 2012 second-round pick out of Michigan State, tore his ACL in the final game of the 2012 season and played only 12 snaps in 2013. Worthy was traded from the Packers to the Pats in August of 2014 but he did not get on the field last season.
  • The Eagles signed rookie free agent wide receiver Mike Johnson, Jeff McLane of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The Delaware product participated in the Eagles rookie mini-camp on a tryout basis and, apparently, he impressed the right people.
  • Linebacker/defensive end Austen Lane, who had stints with the Jaguars, Lions, and Bears, took to Twitter to announce his retirement.

Browns Sign Nine, Waive Four

The Browns have signed sixth-round cornerback Charles Gaines and eight players who tried out for them at their recent rookie camp, reports ESPN’s Pat McManamon (via Twitter). The list of tryout signings comes courtesy of Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal (Twitter link):

  • E.J. Bibbs, tight end, Iowa
  • Paul Browning, wide receiver, Colorado State-Pueblo
  • Landon Feichter, defensive back, Purdue
  • Kevin Haplea, tight end, Florida State
  • Darius Jennings, wide receiver, Virginia
  • Luke Lundy, running back, Ottawa
  • Rodman Noel, linebacker, North Carolina State
  • Brandon Stephens, defensive back, Miami (Ohio)

To make room for their newest players, the Browns cut kicker Garrett Hartley, wideout Phil Bates, cornerback Varmah Sonie, and defensive end Christian Tupou, per Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (Twitter link).