Tyus Bowser

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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:

Ravens Sign Rookie CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens announced that they have signed first-round cornerback Marlon Humphrey. In addition to the Alabama product, linebacker Tyus Bowser (second round), guard Nico Siragusa (fourth round), offensive tackle Jermaine Eluemunor (fifth round), and safety Chuck Carr (sixth round) have also inked their deals. Marlon Humphrey (vertical)

Humphrey was widely ranked as one of the top three cornerbacks available in what was a very deep class for the position. Depending on who you asked, some talent evaluators had him as the second-best corner on the board, behind Marshon Lattimore but ahead of Gareon Conley and Adoree’ Jackson. Humphrey wound up becoming the second cornerback drafted when the Ravens selected him at No. 16, though Conley’s draft week incident might have had something to do with that.

Humphrey, a 6’1″, 196-pound athlete, had 36 total tackles, two interceptions, and five passes defensed in his final year at Alabama. One of those interceptions was a pick six in the season opener against USC.

With those five under contract, only two Ravens draft picks remain unsigned. Baltimore will look to finalize things with third-round defensive end Chris Wormley and third-round linebacker Tim Williams in the coming days.

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McShay’s Latest: Mahomes, Foster, Cook

Three quarterbacks are expected to be selected in the first round: Mitch Trubisky (North Carolina), Deshaun Watson (Clemson), and Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech), according to Todd McShay of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Cal’s Davis Webb is also reportedly a contender for a first-round slot, says McShay, though he could fall to the middle of Round 2. Watson, interestingly, has been more lauded by NFL clubs that aren’t in the market for a quarterback, per McShay, as those teams have praised Watson’s leadership ability and other intangibles. Trubisky and Mahomes, meanwhile, are seemingly more attractive to clubs that do need a signal-caller.

Let’s take a look at a few more highlight’s from McShay’s column, which is certainly worth a full read:

  • Mahomes, specifically, has been consistently linked to the Chiefs and Cardinals, says McShay. Both clubs are on the hunt for long-term options under center, as Alex Smith has shown a limited ceiling while Carson Palmer is entering the final stages of his career. The Texans have also been mentioned as a destination for Mahomes, as Houston head coach Bill O’Brien reportedly “loves” the Red Raider quarterback. If Kansas City is hoping to land Mahomes, it may have to trade up, as McShay doesn’t believe Mahomes will be available when the Chiefs pick at No. 27.
  • Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster and Florida State linebacker Dalvin Cook are both dealing with off-field concerns, but Cook could end up falling further down the board than Foster, reports McShay. At least one source tells McShay the Colts at pick No. 15 could be the eventual landing spot for Foster. Indianapolis is attempting a complete remake of its defense, so the club may be willing to overlook Foster’s issues in order to secure a top-notch ‘backer. If the Colts pass, the Redskins (pick No. 17) could also be interested in Foster, per McShay. Meanwhile, Cook will be “strongly considered” by the Buccaneers at No. 19.
  • The Saints could consider Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett, Temple linebacker Haason Reddick, or Ohio State safety Malik Hooker with the 11th overall pick, according to McShay. New Orleans has fielded one of the league’s worst defensive units for several years, so any sort of upgrade on that side of the ball shouldn’t be ruled out. Hooker isn’t expected to come off the board in the top five picks, but should be drafted between No. 6 and No. 13, per McShay. Reddick, meanwhile, is expected to be a top-15 selection and could even sneak into the top 10.
  • Houston pass rusher Tyus Bowser is expected to be a late first-round pick, sources tell McShay. Bowser, who managed 8.5 sacks last season, could conceivably appeal to a number of teams picking in the 20s or 30s. Speculatively, the Lions, Dolphins, Cowboys, Packers, Steelers, Falcons, and Saints could all use an edge defender late on Day 1.

NFC Draft Visits: 49ers, Panthers, Cowboys, Redskins

Some of Wednesday’s notable pre-draft visits from the NFC:

  • Florida cornerback Teez Tabor and Michigan defensive back/linebacker Jabrill Peppers were among the 49ers’ visitors, writes Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. Neither will be in play for the 49ers’ first-round pick (even if they trade down from No. 2), but could still be on the board when the club’s second-rounder comes up at No. 34.
  • Kansas State edge rusher Jordan Willis visited the Panthers, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Willis seems like a more realistic fit for the Panthers in the second round (No. 40 overall) than in the first (No. 8). Regardless, with Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson and Mario Addison each on the wrong side of 30, Carolina could use a young pass rusher like Willis, who totaled 20 sacks from 2015-16.
  • Alabama cornerback Marlon Humphrey met with the Cowboys, reports Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Humphrey may well be off the board by the time the Cowboys are on the clock at No. 28, though it’s possible he’ll drop amid unwanted comparisons to another ex-Alabama corner, recent first-round bust Dee Milliner.
  • The Redskins, owners of the 17th pick, hosted Houston edge defender Tyus Bowser, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (Twitter link). Washington amassed the ninth-most sacks in the league last year, though nine of their 38 came from outside linebacker Trent Murphy, who will serve a four-game suspension to open the season. He’s also due to hit free agency next spring. Adding another pass rusher early in the draft this year could make sense, then. Bowser racked up 22.5 sacks during his four-year college career, including a personal-best 8.5 in 2016.