While the Ravens keep looking for solutions to bolster different units on the defensive side of the ball, the options they have at hand keep shrinking on a daily basis. The latest transaction in the NFL involved a former Ravens playmaker signing elsewhere.
On Sunday, veteran former Ravens edge rusher and free agent Justin Houston reached an agreement to sign a one-year, $7 million deal with the Carolina Panthers. Adam Schefter of ESPN first broke the news.
The four-time Pro Bowl will spend the 2023 season manning the Panthers' linebacker line and chasing quarterbacks in Carolina following two seasons playing for the Baltimore Ravens organization.
Houston arrives in Carolina with 12 years of experience under his belt and he entered this offseason as a Ravens free agent. In the last two offseasons, the veteran edge rusher and Baltimore agreed to one-year deals late, leading to rumors about that potentially being the case for a third time this summer.
Welp, that's no longer going to happen. And the worst news is that there aren't many options available on the free market that are worth paying for by the Ravens in order to improve the roster at the EDGE position.
Last year, in 14 games, Houston completed 21 tackles, forced one fumble, and intercepted one pass. One year before that, he tackled 34 foes getting 4.5 sacks.
Just for context, only 20 linebackers put up Houston's numbers last year in the NFL, according to Stathead, including current Ravens ILB Patrick Queen.
The Ravens have been linked to other free-agent linebackers and edge rushers this offseason, namely Yannick Ngackue, Dawuane Smoot, and Kyle Van Noy. The first signed with the Chicago Bears a few days ago, Smoot didn't even consider the Ravens, and the latter visited Baltimore but returned home without a signed deal.
As things stand, the Ravens are betting on the improvement of youngsters David Ojabo (sophomore) and Odafe Oweh (third-season) to make them their two starters on the edge. The unit also boasts Tyus Bowser, but he's dealing with a knee issue at this moment and missing training camp sitting on the NFI list.
If the Ravens decide to go ahead with the trio of Ojabo/Oweh/Bowser, then they would do good to sign at least a couple of warm/training-camp bodies to prevent those three to play too many snaps in pre-season games and avoid any injury.
The depth chart is looking dangerously thin at the position and any setback in the shape of an injury could destroy the franchise's plans of putting together a deep postseason run.