How accidents, vested veterans and apply squad spots may drive the Ravens’ roster strikes

Thirteen days earlier than Pernell McPhee had the Ravens’ first sack of the 2021 season and Anthony Levine Sr. led the group in Week 1 particular groups snaps, neither was on the roster.

McPhee, the veteran exterior linebacker, and Levine, the longtime particular groups chief, have been among the many 16 Ravens reduce forward of the NFL’s deadline for 53-man rosters last year. If their releases registered as surprises round Baltimore, their returns within the following days didn’t. The plan was all the time to have them out there for the season opener towards the Las Vegas Raiders.

Those roster gymnastics are value remembering because the Ravens put together for the NFL’s closing wave of cuts, with common supervisor Eric DeCosta set to pare a 78-man team down to 53. But the Ravens roster that’s finalized by 4 p.m. Tuesday is not going to be the identical roster the Ravens enter the common season with.

“We have a plan already, and we’ve started putting it into effect,” coach John Harbaugh stated Monday. “There’s a lot of considerations: position value, special teams value, also practice squad value, strategy. Eric and his guys have to look at strategy in terms of who might get claimed or not get claimed, or where we are with health at certain positions. Those are all considerations that have to be made. So we’ll probably take our time through until tomorrow to wrap it all up. Then, probably, honestly, the next couple of days after that, there will be some things happening.”

Injuries will animate many of the Ravens’ roster choices this week. Under NFL guidelines, DeCosta should wait till Wednesday to position gamers similar to tight finish Charlie Kolar (sports activities hernia) and rookie exterior linebacker David Ojabo (Achilles tendon) on short-term injured reserve, sidelining them for a minimum of 4 video games. Defensive deal with Travis Jones, who suffered a minor knee harm within the preseason, is one other IR candidate.

That means the Ravens should discover roster replacements briefly order. But they may not should look far.

Among the gamers who could possibly be launched Tuesday are working again Mike Davis, defensive lineman Brent Urban, inside linebacker Josh Bynes, exterior linebacker Steven Means and security Tony Jefferson. All may contribute early within the season, if not begin for the Ravens in Week 1. Just as importantly, all are “vested” veterans, too.

Vested veterans are gamers with a minimum of 4 years of accrued NFL service time. Until the league’s commerce deadline passes in early November, vested veterans who’re launched instantly attain free company — bypassing waivers, the place an group may declare them. A launch Tuesday doesn’t essentially sign a goodbye; it may imply, “See you when you re-sign in a day or two.”

“I know here and everywhere else they’re going to have the best guys that can play and be on their team,” Jefferson stated after Saturday’s win over the Washington Commanders. “So I can’t really worry about that part too much. As long as I was able to go out there and showcase my abilities and show what I can do, the cards will fall where they fall. Obviously, I want to be a Raven, but I understand the technicalities that go with everything and all that.”

The Ravens’ reunions with McPhee and Levine final 12 months exhibit two potential paths again. McPhee was re-signed to the 53-man roster, together with veteran tight finish Eric Tomlinson, two days after the Ravens launched him and in the future after extensive receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin have been moved to IR. McPhee performed 36 defensive snaps towards Las Vegas and appeared in 10 video games final season.

Levine, in the meantime, was added to the 16-man practice squad in the future after his launch, activated for the season opener and promoted to the 53-man roster earlier than Week 2 together with defensive lineman Justin Ellis, a fellow vested veteran. Levine performed in all 17 video games and led the group in particular groups snaps.

Some apply squad strikes have monetary concerns; vested veterans who open the season on a group’s Week 1 roster have their base wage totally assured. Players signed after Week 1, nevertheless, are entitled to solely 25% of their base wage if launched after a brief tenure. The Ravens have simply $8.6 million in wage cap area, according to the players’ union, among the many smaller swimming pools within the NFL.

“Guys want to be here,” Harbaugh stated. “So if you can work [out] some of the things … you try to do that.”

Week 1

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Sunday, Sept. 11, 1 p.m.

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