Ravens' Deonte Harty signing will keep special teams elite in 2024

Harty is coming home.
Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins
Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens lost some key starters in 2024, but the departure of wide receiver Devin Duvernay (who signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars) left the Ravens without both the No. 4 wide receiver on the depth chart and one of the best returners in the league.

Deonte Harty, who spent last season with the Buffalo Bills after breaking into the league as a member of the New Orleans Saints, has overcome the challenges his 5-6 frame presents and is consistently ranked as one of the top returners in the game. Baltimore was so interested that they lured him away from Buffalo.

Harty, who was born and raised in Baltimore, inked a one-year contract with the Ravens. While he could end up being a solid receiver if the need arises, thanks to his exceptional downfield speed and ability to track the ball in the air, Harty's main area of expertise will be returns.

After the NFL made some rule changes to further increase the frequency of kickoff returns, the Ravens knew they needed to invest heavily in a Duvernay replacement. Getting Harty, who has a history of excellence at the position, is a great way for them to add some much-needed juice.

Baltimore Ravens sign Deonte Harty to one-year contract

Harty has 79 catches for 943 yards and five touchdowns in his career, most of which came in 2021 after the Saints were beset by injuries. Harty can't run a full route tree, but his pure speed and playmaking ability will certainly be of use to Todd Monken and Lamar Jackson.

As a returner, Harty is world-class. With almost 2,000 career kick return yards in five seasons and two punt return touchdowns in his pro career (including a 96-yard runback during Buffalo's quest to win the AFC East again), the primary returner job will be his to lose on both kicks and punts.

The best thing about the Harty signing is that it gives Baltimore some veteran wide receiver depth while also keeping the door open for some extra competition with a young draftee. If the Ravens don't want to spend top dollar on a star receiver, getting solid depth at the position is the next best thing they can do.

If nothign else, Harty will bring an extra burst of speed while keeping one of the best special teams units in football near the top of the heap. A former special teams coach like John Harbaugh has to love a signing like this.