The Baltimore Ravens officially announced the re-signing of veteran pass rusher Justin Houston on Thursday. It was a notable albeit expected move, but it’s certainly not one that should be overlooked.
Houston proved last year that he still has plenty left in the tank. Even at the age of 32, Houston was arguably the Ravens’ best pass rusher in 2021, and that might just be the case again a year later.
No, he’s not a game-changer and his presence alone doesn’t significantly move the needle for the organization. But none of that should take away from the value that Houston brings to the table.
Even if it seemed inevitable that Houston would be re-signed this offseason, the decision to bring him back should be praised. This is an excellent move for the Ravens.
Justin Houston is an important piece of the Ravens’ defensive puzzle
The Ravens signed Houston in July of last year with the hope that he would help stabilize the team’s razor-thin outside linebacker corps. While he didn’t necessarily light up the stat sheet, he still did accomplish just that.
Houston led the Ravens with 17 QB hits, finished as Pro Football Focus’ 19th-ranked edge defender, and tallied a combined total of 18 sacks and hits that ranked 23rd among all edge rushers.
He was a highly-efficient pass rusher, even if his 4.5 sacks wouldn’t indicate such. In fact, Houston ranked 14th in ESPN’s pass-rush win rate metric in 2021.
Houston was an effective pass rusher and an important vocal leader on and off the field. That’s not to mention that the Ravens once again find themselves looking for extra outside linebacker depth.
Tyus Bowser and Odafe Oweh are both recovering from major offseason surgeries while second-round pick David Ojabo is out for the foreseeable future after tearing his Achilles this past April.
The Ravens needed a reliable veteran who could hold down the fort and provide stability at a position with plenty of question marks. Houston will do just that.
Justin Houston may not be the same player who was named to four consecutive Pro Bowls a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean he’s not still a very valuable player to the Ravens organization.
This is an excellent move that should not fly under the radar.