Ravens HC John Harbaugh hints at bringing back Justin Houston

Ravens, Justin Houston (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ravens, Justin Houston (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens plan to pick up a pass-rusher this offseason one way or another, even if that means re-signing veteran Justin Houston.

The Ravens were never going to attract elite edge-rushers like Von Miller, Randy Gregory, or Chandler Jones, all of whom sat well outside the team’s price range.

Former Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith offered the most logical and best value signing, but he has since left for greener pastures.

At this point, the remaining free agents at the position rank around the same caliber as former Ravens player Justin Houston, who also remains unsigned. Could the team simply bring Houston back to the team for another campaign?

Head coach John Harbaugh recently hinted that it may be an option worth exploring.

The Ravens’ last resort may be re-signing Justin Houston in free agency

Houston joined the Ravens last offseason, penning a one-year, $4 million dollar contract with the purple and black despite getting offers from several other teams.

At 32-years-old, Houston boasted an impressive resume that included four Pro Bowls and eight sacks in each of his past four seasons. In 2021 with the Ravens, though, Houston’s production dipped, and he only posted 4.5 sacks along with 17 quarterback hits and 34 combined tackles.

Long removed from his 22-sack season with the Kansas City Chiefs, Houston may no longer serve as the reliable veteran pass-rusher the Ravens are looking for and his ceiling is clearly capped.

While the numbers don’t show Houston steadily declining, he’s shown streaks of inconsistent production at the end of his Chiefs career and during a stint with the Indianapolis Colts, and as he heads into his 12th year in the league he clearly isn’t the player he used to be.

Unfortunately for the Ravens, Houston may be their best bet, and plugging him back in the lineup works as a seamless transition, even if it’s not the optimal solution.

Younger edge rushers Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh remain less proven talents in the defense, and with Bowser recovering from a major injury the Ravens definitely need the extra insurance.

Other free-agent options include former San Francisco 49ers’ pass-rusher Arden Key, yet he, too, lacks experience at the position and may not be dependable all year round.

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If the Ravens do end up re-signing Justin Houston to another “prove-it” deal, it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but it wouldn’t exactly solve the team’s issues at the outside linebacker position either.