Ravens: Justin Houston signing completes Baltimore’s defense

Justin Houston, Ravens Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Houston, Ravens Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens finally agreed to terms with free-agent pass rusher Justin Houston on Saturday. Following months of rumors and speculation, the two sides managed to reach an agreement.

The Ravens have their veteran pass rusher. And now, their defense is virtually complete.

The losses of Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue opened up a sizable hole in the Ravens’ defense this offseason. One that they couldn’t really address adequately in free agency.

Houston is the free-agent addition they’ve been waiting months for. And both the fan base and team couldn’t be happier.

The Ravens defense is now complete with Justin Houston.

Baltimore attempted to address their pass rush adding both Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes in the 2021 NFL Draft. But while both players have shown promise, neither is a guaranteed instant-impact contributor.

And the rest of the team’s pass rush corps is unproven at best.

Tyus Bowser is a good player, but he’s more of a well-rounded outside linebacker than a pass-rush specialist. Pernell McPhee might have some juice left, but his best days are clearly behind him. And Jaylon Ferguson is more of a mystery than any other player on the roster.

The Ravens needed to add an accomplished veteran pass rusher who can contribute at a high level from day one. Justin Houston always made the most sense — and now, he’s here.

Houston has recorded 19 sacks over the last two seasons and has tallied at least 8.0 sacks in each of the last four years.

Even at 32-years-old, he’s proven to still have plenty left in the tank. The four-time Pro Bowler was the missing piece to the Ravens defense.

Baltimore already had the best cornerback group in the NFL with Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters leading the way. Their veteran-heavy defensive line anchored the front seven. Even their linebacker corps led by Patrick Queen showed promise.

What they didn’t have, however, was a sure thing at pass rusher. Now they do.

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Justin Houston is their Matthew Judon replacement. He is the final piece of the puzzle for a potentially elite Baltimore defense.

The Ravens are ready for Week 1.