Tyus Bowser

Ravens Notes: Bowser, Stanley, Washington, Linebackers

Baltimore’s 2021 NFL season was mired with injuries that would lead key players to be absent for extended periods, including many that missed all or the majority of the year. The Ravens aren’t known for giving out too much information on injuries over the years, but The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec was able to provide an update on some of Baltimore’s rehabbing players.

Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser signed a four-year contract to stay with the Ravens after the 2020 season and rewarded Baltimore with his best season as a pro to date. Bowser started every game of the year for the first time in his career and tallied career-highs in total tackles (59), sacks (7.0), tackles for loss (8.0), quarterback hits (15), and forced fumbles (2) just a year after recording three interceptions. The season ended on a sour note for Bowser, though, when he tore his Achilles tendon during the Ravens’ season finale against the Steelers.

As for a return, it was an extremely positive sign when Bowser came into the team’s offseason workouts without a boot or a limp only three months after surgery. Historically, Achilles tears take from nine to twelve months to come back from, but, recently, the Rams saw running back Cam Akers return to the field after only five and a half months of recovery. Baltimore, themselves, saw former star linebacker Terrell Suggs return to play only five months after surgery to repair his Achilles. The season opener would mark about eight months from Bowser’s surgery. Head coach John Harbaugh was quoted back in January saying, “I think Tyus will be back for the start of the season. I think Tyus will be back for training camp. That’s my prediction. That’s my timeline, so I’m going to stick with that.”

Here are a couple more notes from last year’s last-place team in the AFC North:

  • On October 30, 2020, the Ravens made offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley the highest paid offensive lineman in the NFL with a five-year, $98.75MM extension. He was carted off the field with a season-ending injury two days later and has played in one game since. Baltimore is dying to see dividends from the historic contract they gave to Stanley, a deal that sent Orlando Brown packing in search of a team that would let him start at left tackle. General manager Eric DeCosta has admitted that he relied too much on having Stanley return to full strength last year when Stanley felt he was “rushed back…in order to play Week 1.” They’re being far more cautious in their optimism this time around as the team is being much more careful with the expectations being set on the 28-year-old. Stanley has told team officials that his ankle recovery is progressing more quickly than last offseason, but Harbaugh’s quote on Stanley two weeks ago reflected more of the cautiousness in their optimism as he said, “Ronnie’s mission right now would be to get in the best shape of his life and get ready to play football.”
  • Like the rest of the league, Baltimore is in the process of figuring out who will make the cut for the final roster come late-August. One of the positions that provides a bit of interest for the Ravens is on the defensive line, as Zrebiec of The Athletic explained in a roster-projection earlier this week. With the return of Calais Campbell, Michael Pierce, and Brent Urban in free agency, as well as the draft-addition of Travis Jones, Zrebiec broached the situation of third-year defensive tackle Broderick Washington. Washington saw his role increase a bit in year-two of NFL play last year due to injuries to Campbell, Brandon Williams, and Derek Wolfe. Despite his increased experience, Zrebiec claims that Washington isn’t a lock to make the roster. The Ravens do like what they’ve seen from Washington, though, and believe he is “an ascending player,” so he’s at least trending in the right direction in terms of roster decisions.
  • Perhaps the weakest position on the Ravens’ roster is the linebacker group. The team returns Patrick Queen, Josh Bynes, Malik Harrison, and Kristian Welch. Welch is mostly a special teamer, Harrison is still slowly returning from a non-life-threatening gunshot injury from last year, Bynes will be 33-years-old when the season begins, and Queen, while good at times, has yet to truly live up to his first-round potential. Baltimore did bring in three undrafted free agents in Josh Ross, Zakoby McClain, and Diego Fagot, but relying on those three to sure up the Ravens’ linebacking corps is asking a lot. Zrebiec does mention that Baltimore has several safeties that they can use in dime linebacker roles, which is a much more probable solution. Any of the Ravens’ strong safeties could slide down into a hybrid role. Tony Jefferson is a bit on the smaller side, but can still bring some hitting-power and coverage ability. Chuck Clark has excelled as a sixth-round pick during his five years in Baltimore but not necessarily for his ball-hawking ability. Sliding Clark down into a linebacker role could provide some benefit. Lastly, first-round draft pick Kyle Hamilton intrigued evaluators with his huge frame and versatility, with many comparing his traits and abilities to those of Derwin James. Hamilton’s size would place him nicely as an outside linebacker with elite coverage ability for the position. Regardless, Baltimore could see some benefit from trotting Queen and Bynes/Harrison out there and supplementing the linebacking group with a safety. I believe they’d rather work Hamilton or Clark out on the field than force Bynes, Harrison, or Welch into uncomfortable situations.

Ravens’ Tyus Bowser Has Surgery On Achilles

One of the most important pieces to the Ravens’ defense started the long road back to recovery from one of many major injuries the team suffered in 2021. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser had surgery to repair his torn Achilles, according to a report from Pro Football Talk.

Bowser tore his Achilles during the team’s regular season finale against the Steelers. The 26-year-old posted pictures of himself in the hospital, adding the caption “and the comeback begins”. Bowser, a 2017 second round pick, has established himself as one of the most versatile members of Baltimore’s defense. He served as the team’s top pass rusher this season, but, as usual, also played a key role in the team’s number one run defense and frequently dropped back in coverage.

Bowser’s ‘Swiss Army Knife’ mold made him the Ravens’ priority in free agency this past offseason. He signed a four year, $22MM extension while more established pass rushers Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue signed in New England and Las Vegas, respectively. In 2022, he’ll have a guaranteed salary of $3MM and a cap hit of $5MM.

In his first season as the team’s most experienced edge rusher, Bowser recorded 59 tackles, seven sacks, two forced fumbles and four passes defensed while appearing in all 17 games. The tackle and sack totals were career highs, as he played 77% of defensive snaps – also a career high. With Bowser and first round rookie Odafe Oweh as the only impact pass rushers under contract for next season, look for that position to be an area of focus for the Ravens this offseason.

NFL COVID-19 List Updates: 12/29/21

Several key players returned to practice Wednesday. Here are the latest COVID-19 updates from around the league:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

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

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Activated from practice squad/COVID-19 list: WR Rico Bussey

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Ravens Place Justin Houston, Brandon Williams, Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Ravens look set to be without several key defenders against the Lions on Sunday. They placed three defensive starters on their reserve/COVID-19 list Friday.

Outside linebackers Justin Houston and Jaylon Ferguson join defensive linemen Brandon Williams and Justin Madubuike in landing on Baltimore’s coronavirus list. While differing protocols exist for vaccinated an unvaccinated players, Friday placements on the virus list leave teams in a bind. This quartet is set to miss Baltimore’s Week 3 game.

It is unclear which members, if any, of the group tested positive. Positive tests would jeopardize their availability for the Ravens’ Week 4 game against the Broncos. Regardless, this continues a brutal season for the Ravens on the availability front.

Baltimore is already without defensive end Derek Wolfe, having ruled out the veteran lineman due to a back injury. Williams has been a starter since 2014, while Madubuike — a 2020 third-round pick — played 49% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in Week 2.

Houston, 32, has started both Baltimore’s games, lining up opposite Tyus Bowser. The Ravens do have first-round pick Odafe Oweh and Bowser set to be available. Pernell McPhee‘s status is uncertain due to a shoulder injury that prevented him from practicing Friday. Houston, who managed to avoid injuries during both his Colts seasons, will miss his first game since the 2018 season. The veteran edge rusher does not have a sack yet this season but obviously serves as a key player for a Ravens team that let Matt Judon and Yannick Ngakoue walk in free agency.

Baltimore withstood its numerous injuries to upend Kansas City on Sunday night, but the AFC power’s lineup will be filled with backups in Detroit. The team will again be without left tackle Ronnie Stanley on Sunday as well, ruling the All-Pro blocker out due to an ankle injury.

Ravens Re-Sign Tyus Bowser

The Ravens have re-signed outside linebacker Tyus Bowser to a four-year deal, $22MM deal, as Adam Caplan of SiriusXM tweets. With incentives, the pact could be worth as much as $27MM. A healthy portion of the contract — $12MM — is guaranteed. 

[RELATED: Patriots Sign Ravens’ Judon]

The deal gives Bowser some long-term security while helping the Ravens to maintain at least some consistency heading into 2021. Earlier this week, the Ravens lost star edge rusher Matt Judon when he agreed to a four-year, $56MM deal with the Patriots. Meanwhile, outside linebacker Yannick Ngakoue left to join up with the Raiders on a two-year, $26MM contract. And, just moments ago, Jihad Ward agreed to follow his former position coach to Jacksonville.

Bowser enjoyed the best season of his career in 2020. All in all, he registered 34 tackles, two sacks, 14 quarterback hits, and three interceptions. Bowser wasn’t the biggest name of the bunch, but he had plenty of suitors in free agency. Despite the other offers, he’s said all along that he wanted to remain with the Ravens.

You just see the depth and the talent that we have,” Bowser told 105.7 The Fan recently.” You just see the job that not only [longtime GM] Ozzie [Newsome] but [GM] Eric DeCosta have done drafting linebackers these past few years. You just see it working out for a lot of those gigs. They’re put in a position to make money and prove themselves as who they are in this league. I’m definitely thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this organization and be in the position where I am now.”

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.

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

Shane Ray On Ravens’ Roster Bubble?

Brought in along with Pernell McPhee after the draft, Shane Ray does not have a comfortable path to the Ravens’ 53-man roster. The former first-round pick is squarely on Baltimore’s bubble.

Ray is behind five other Raven edge defenders at present, with Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic noting (subscription required) the four-year Broncos cog will need a strong preseason to make the team.

The fifth-year pass rusher has flashed in practice, but Zreibec notes McPhee is ahead of him among the veteran contingent. So are 2017 second- and third-round picks Tyus Bowser and Tim Williams With the Ravens unlikely to keep six edge defenders, Ray has his work cut out for him entering the team’s preseason slate.

The Ravens added Ray shortly after May’s compensatory deadline and gave him a $1.2MM deal with $200K guaranteed. But vying with McPhee and recent Ravens Day 2 picks, with Matt Judon and rookie Jaylon Ferguson locks to make the team, made this an uncertain proposition from the start.

While he was a rotational presence on Denver’s Super Bowl champion team and registered eight sacks in 2016, Ray has not lived up to his first-round billing yet. He finished his Broncos tenure on a shaky note, being a healthy scratch at the conclusion of last season.

AFC Notes: Jaguars, Ramsey, Jets, Decker

The Jaguars suspended cornerback Jalen Ramsey for a week of preseason action, but the ban won’t void his guarantees, according to Mike Florio of PFT (on Twitter). That’s because the Jags suspended Ramsey for “violating team rules and conduct unbecoming of a Jaguars football player,” rather than “conduct detrimental.” The small difference in language made a huge difference in the outcome for Ramsey, and probably kept the team on good terms with one of its defensive stars.

Unfortunately, there’s no loophole to help defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Thanks to a previous suspension under the personal conduct policy, Fowler’s future guarantees have already been eliminated.

Here’s more from the AFC: