Justice Hill

Ravens To Re-Sign RB Justice Hill

The Ravens have been idle to date in terms of making additions on the open market, but a familiar face in their backfield will remain in place. Baltimore is re-signing running back Justice Hill, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (Twitter link).

This new pact will see the 25-year-old earn $4.5MM over two years. The contract has a maximum value of $5MM, marking a notable investment given Hill’s location in the Ravens’ running back pecking order. Baltimore already has J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards as their top options at the position, and quarterback Lamar Jackson has represented another key element of their rushing attack during his time in Charm City.

As a result, Hill has only received 119 carries in three seasons. Part of that total is owing to the Achilles tear which kept him sidelined for the 2021 campaign, one in which Dobbins and Edwards both missed the season in full as well. At least one of the latter two were unavailable for much of 2022, but Hill was able to play in 15 contests. He recorded 262 scoreless yards on the ground (at an average of 5.3 per carry), adding 12 catches for 58 yards.

While the Oklahoma State product’s tenure has been limited in terms of opportunities on offense, he also has experience on special teams. Hill returned kicks as a rookie, then did so again in 2022 after wideout Devin Duvernay was lost for the season due to injury. The latter has been floated as a potential trade candidate given his inflated cap number on the final year of his rookie contract and the team’s tight financial situation. Should Duvernay be moved, Hill could be in line to handle return duties full-time.

Edwards recently agreed to lower his 2023 compensation in a move which ensures that he will remain in the fold for the coming season. With Dobbins still on his rookie contract and Hill now on the books, the Ravens will have continuity in the backfield for at least one more season as they look to continue their strong ground attack under new offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

J.K. Dobbins To Undergo Knee Surgery

The Ravens played J.K. Dobbins‘ return from his severe knee injuries cautiously, keeping their running back off the field for this season’s first two games. Baltimore has also kept Dobbins’ carry count under 10 in three of the four contests he has played.

Dobbins will not be in uniform in Week 7, however. The Ravens ruled out their top running back for their Browns matchup. Dobbins did not practice all week, with his knee being the restriction here. It turns out Dobbins will be sidelined for another extended stretch. He will undergo arthroscopic surgery on the knee, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. John Harbaugh said Dobbins’ knee tightened up last week.

This obviously should present cause for concern, considering Dobbins was sidelined for over a year. The former second-round pick sustained major damage in the Ravens’ preseason finale last year, suffering a torn ACL, LCL, meniscus and hamstring during that seminal game. While he made a successful return in Week 3, the Ohio State product has yet to clear 50 rushing yards in a game since coming back.

Dobbins also did not factor into the Ravens’ Giants matchup down the stretch. The Ravens turned to Kenyan Drake to lead their backfield in New Jersey. Drake cleared 100 rushing yards. The Ravens were also without Justice Hill in that contest. Hill has been battling a hamstring injury, but he is no longer on the team’s injury report. Hill practiced fully this week.

Gus Edwards remains on Baltimore’s PUP list, and although the team designated him for return, the team’s other back rehabbing an ACL tear is not guaranteed to suit up against Cleveland. The Ravens have until Oct. 26 to activate Edwards, or he will miss a second straight full season.

As a rookie in 2020, Dobbins averaged six yards per carry and scored nine touchdowns. The Ravens cut Mark Ingram after the 2020 season, clearing a path for a Dobbins-Edwards backfield. Each back’s severe injury changed those plans, ushering in a procession of veterans to Baltimore last season. The Ravens used the likes of Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman and Le’Veon Bell in 2021; none of those vets are with the team any longer.

The team signed Mike Davis and reached an agreement with Drake after his late-summer Raiders release. These appeared to be insurance additions, with Dobbins and Edwards on the way back. But the signings have been rather prominent — particularly in Drake’s case — during this season’s first half.

Ravens’ Gus Edwards To Return To Practice; Justice Hill To Miss Time

The Ravens will start Gus Edwards‘ activation clock, marking a good sign for his near-future availability. Edwards will return to practice this week, John Harbaugh said.

From the point Edwards begins practicing, Baltimore will have 21 days to move him from the reserve/PUP list to its 53-man roster. If that does not happen during this timeframe, the fifth-year running back will miss the 2022 season. While the Ravens saw an activation window close last year (Derek Wolfe‘s), Edwards has been trending in the right direction for a bit. The oft-used backup said in mid-September he was close to a return from the ACL tear that wiped out his 2021 slate.

This news does come after Justice Hill suffered a hamstring injury that Harbaugh confirmed will cause the well-performing backup to miss time, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (on Twitter). With Edwards and J.K. Dobbins‘ recoveries from full-season injuries generating most of the publicity this position group produced this offseason, Hill also returned after missing all of 2021. Hill’s Achilles tear suffered just before last season made the Ravens the rare team to lose its top three backs for an entire season.

Dobbins has been a bit slower to bounce back, but Hill has played well since returning. The 2019 fourth-round pick, whom the Ravens waived with an injury designation in September 2021, is averaging 6.6 yards per carry (19 totes, 125 yards) and has been the team’s top non-Lamar Jackson rusher. After being largely a nonfactor in the Ravens’ backfield during his first two seasons, Hill could be a key cog for the injury-plagued group. But he will need more rehab time, which reopens the door for Edwards to make an immediate impact.

Edwards, 27, has averaged at least five yards per handoff in all three of his healthy seasons, and the Ravens rewarded him with a three-year, $12.38MM extension in June 2021. As the Ravens await Edwards’ first game on that deal, Dobbins continues to be steadily reintegrated after returning from his extensive set of injuries. Dobbins has 20 carries for 64 yards and a touchdown in two games. The Ravens have Kenyan Drake and Mike Davis in place as Dobbins’ backups.

NFL COVID List Updates: 12/25-12/26/21

We’ve compiled a list of players who were placed on or activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list on Christmas and today. In some instances, players activated from the list remain on IR:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Placed on practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Steven Sims

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/9/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Dallas Cowboys

New York Giants

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: OL Ted Larsen

Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Ravens Sign RB Trenton Cannon, Waive RB Justice Hill

Following a season-ending Achilles tear, Justice Hill will be available on the waiver wire. The Ravens waived the third-year running back with an injury designation Wednesday.

While Hill is technically on the wire, he is expected to stay with the Ravens. The former fourth-round pick would revert to Baltimore’s injured reserve if unclaimed. This development is often a precursor to an injury settlement taking place, removing the player from IR, but it sounds like the Ravens are preparing to carry Hill on their injured list this season. Two years remain on Hill’s rookie deal.

Baltimore moved Hill off its roster and added another back in his place. Trenton Cannon agreed to terms with the Ravens and is now on the team’s active roster. The Panthers waived Cannon last week, having claimed Royce Freeman — a player the Ravens attempted to claim. Baltimore’s active-roster running back contingent now consists of Gus Edwards, Ty’Son Williams and Cannon.

A sixth-round Jets pick in 2018, Cannon wound up with the Panthers last year and contributed mostly as a kick returner. Cannon also played 40% of the Panthers’ special teams snaps last season. Despite Christian McCaffrey‘s injury, Cannon took just 10 handoffs in 14 games with Carolina. He logged 38 carries as a Jets rookie.

The Cannon move comes a day after the Ravens added Le’Veon Bell to their practice squad. Bell makes more sense as a Baltimore backfield contributor this season, with Hill and J.K. Dobbins out, but Cannon as of now occupies the team’s No. 3 tailback slot.

Ravens’ Justice Hill Done For Year

Ravens running back Justice Hill tore his Achilles at a recent practice (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Hill is out for the year, leaving the Ravens with only two healthy RBs.

[RELATED: Ravens Sign Mark Andrews To $56MM Extension]

It’s been a rough stretch for the Ravens, who just lost starter J.K. Dobbins for the year. With Dobbins out, Hill was slated to serve as the No. 2 RB behind starter Gus Edwards. Now, they’re left with Edwards, UDFA Ty’Son Williams, and no other options currently on the practice squad.

Hill, 24 in November, ran for 225 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie. Last year, he saw just 12 carries for 60 yards in the Ravens’ crowded backfield — 5.0 ypc in an admittedly small sample size. Unfortunately, he’ll have to wait until next year to retake the field.

Hill’s injury would help to explain the Ravens’ recent interest in Royce Freeman. The Panthers beat them out on the waiver wire, but it stands to reason that the Ravens will add another experienced tailback soon.

NFL Draft Pick Signings: 5/3/19

We’ll keep track the latest late-round draft pick signings here: