Ravens: 4 free agents the team could sign before Week 1

Ravens, Duke Johnson Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Ravens, Duke Johnson Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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Ravens, Duke Johnson Mandatory Credit: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Ravens target: Duke Johnson

Much has been said about the Ravens’ running back position following J.K. Dobbins’ injury. Gus Edwards will undoubtedly take on a larger role while Ty’Son Williams and Justice Hill figure to work into the gameplan as well.

But the Ravens will make an addition before the season starts. Whether that addition is on the active roster or the practice squad remains to be seen. But it’s going to happen.

With two — really just one — practice squad spot open, it’s likely the designated practice squad running back was supposed to be undrafted rookie Nate McCrary. But he was claimed off waivers by the Denver Broncos leaving the Ravens scrambling.

One free agent who could not only provide depth on the practice squad but play a role on Sundays is veteran Duke Johnson.

We could have easily slotted Todd Gurley into the spot, but Johnson is the more effective, more appealing option.

Although he struggled behind a lackluster Texans offensive line in 2020, Johnson has been the model of consistency and efficiency throughout his career. In three of the four years prior to 2020, he averaged 4.9 yards per carry or higher.

On the surface, Johnson doesn’t look like a great fit for Baltimore’s offense. However, with the Ravens looking to get their running backs more involved in the passing game this year, Johnson could actually be a valuable weapon for the team.

His pass-catching traits could add a new element to the Ravens’ offense, an element that the team was hoping Dobbins would help provide.

Next. Ravens: 4 most surprising roster moves on cut day. dark

Of the remaining free-agent running backs the Ravens could add, few are more appealing than Duke Johnson.