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#pounditFriday, January 22, 2021

Articles tagged: Baltimore Ravens

Dez Bryant sends great tweet after signing with Ravens

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant is finally getting another shot in the NFL, and the three-time Pro Bowler is understandably ecstatic to get back on the field.

Bryant has agreed to a contract with the Baltimore Ravens to join their practice squad. Shortly after word of the deal surfaced on Tuesday, the 31-year-old sent an awesome tweet about how happy he is. Bryant said he’s thankful and “can’t stop crying.”

The journey back for Bryant has been a long one, and many players in his position would have given up by now. He has not played a full NFL season since 2017. Bryant was cut by the Dallas Cowboys at the end of the 2018 offseason and went several months unsigned before joining the Saints. He then tore his Achilles in November 2018 before ever appearing in a game for New Orleans.

Bryant has tried to pitch his services to multiple teams over the past two years, but a practice-squad deal was his best opportunity. If he’s healthy and can still separate from defenders, the Ravens could have a nice addition to their roster late in the season.

One thing is for certain: motivation will not be an issue for Bryant.

Dez Bryant signs practice-squad deal with Ravens

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant is finally getting another shot to play in the NFL, but he will need to prove himself on a practice squad first.

Bryant has agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Ravens to join their practice squad, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports.

Word of Bryant potentially signing with the Ravens surfaced last week, and it was believed that the move was only pending a physical. This means that Bryant, who tore his Achilles while attempting a comeback with the New Orleans Saints in 2018, passed.

Bryant, 31, has not played in the NFL since 2017. He was cut by the Dallas Cowboys at the end of the 2018 offseason and went several months unsigned before joining the Saints. Bryant tore his Achilles before ever appearing in a game for New Orleans.

While he has tried to pitch his services to multiple teams, Bryant has been linked to the Ravens for quite some time now.

Bryant, a three-time Pro Bowler, caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns in his last full season with the Cowboys in 2017. The Ravens are not expecting that type of production, but he could be a nice late-season addition to their roster if all goes well.

Report: Dez Bryant likely to join Ravens’ practice squad

Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant appears to be on his way back to the NFL.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Bryant is expected to join the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad if he passes a physical. The possibility of this was first reported by NFL reporter Josina Anderson.

Bryant worked out for Baltimore in the offseason, so the Ravens likely know what they’re getting already.

The 31-year-old wide receiver has not played in the NFL since 2017. The practice squad stint is likely meant to get him into game shape. The Ravens’ interest in him goes back nearly three years, and they’ve looked into signing him multiple times. It appears to be finally happening.

Once considered one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers, Bryant has 73 career touchdown catches. His best season in that regard was 2014, when he caught 16 of them.

Yannick Ngakoue traded from Vikings to Ravens

Yannick Ngakoue

Yannick Ngakoue is on the move yet again.

As first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Minnesota Vikings have traded Ngakoue to the Baltimore Ravens. The Vikings will receive a pair of draft picks in exchange for the defensive end.

This is a surprising move for a few reasons. Ngakoue was traded to the Vikings less than two months ago for a very similar package. The Vikings gave up a second-round pick and a conditional fifth-round selection. Not long after, they get back a third and a conditional fifth. With the team sitting at 1-5, this may be the start of a selloff as they wave the white flag on 2020.

For the Ravens, the fit is obvious. Ngakoue, who already has five sacks on the season, adds even more firepower to perhaps the league’s best defense. Baltimore’s front seven already contains the likes of Calais Campbell, Brandon Williams, Matt Judon, and Derek Wolfe. They can bring overwhelming firepower at opposing quarterbacks.

Ravens players troll John Harbaugh with funny birthday shirt

John Harbaugh

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh celebrated his 58th birthday on Wednesday, and his players honored him in a way that likely brought a tear to his eye.

Just kidding.

Ravens players wore shirts to practice that said “Happy Birthday Coach!” with an incredibly embarrassing, yet perfect, photo of Harbaugh.

If Harbaugh wants a proper birthday celebration, he should probably call one of his biggest AFC rivals. For now, the T-shirts will have to suffice.

Jadeveon Clowney reportedly wanted to sign with another team

Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney’s free agent odyssey is finally over. The star defensive lineman joined the Tennessee Titans. But it does not sound like that was his first choice, however.

Albert Breer of The MMQB shared some details of Clowney’s free agency on Sunday. As expected, it appears Clowney was very picky about his team, having turned down multiple $15 million offers because he wasn’t interested in the destination.

Of note, though, is the report that Clowney preferred to go to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Ravens already have a loaded defensive front with Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell on the edges and the likes of Matthew Judon and standout rookie Patrick Queen at linebacker. Clowney would have been an expensive player who didn’t really fill a need. That may be why the Ravens shied away.

Clowney ended up getting a solid deal from the Titans. If he doesn’t like it there, he’ll be free to test the market again next year.

Report: Ravens also wanted Jadeveon Clowney in sign-and-trade

Jadeveon Clowney

The New Orleans Saints were willing to pull out all the stops to acquire Jadeveon Clowney, but apparently even a sign-and-trade would not have been enough for them to land the star defensive lineman.

Before Clowney signed with the Tennessee Titans on Saturday, the Saints tried to maneuver around the salary cap by getting a second team involved — believed to be the Cleveland Browns. The idea would have been to have the Browns sign Clowney, eat a portion of the contract, and then trade him to New Orleans for a second-round pick. Because the deal would have constituted circumventing the salary cap, the NFL did not allow it.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, Clowney still would not have ended up in New Orleans even if the NFL approved the sign-and-trade. The Ravens and Jaguars had already approached the league about the same type of deal, where Jacksonville would sign Clowney and then trade him to Baltimore. If the deal was approved, it would have been the Ravens — not the Saints — who pulled it off first.

Many people have criticized the NFL for allowing teams to circumvent the salary cap, and that is true in some instances. However, it clearly works in certain situations as we saw with the Clowney sweepstakes.

Clowney ended up signing a one-year, $13 million deal with the Titans that could be worth up to $15 million with incentives. Given the way things played out, you have to wonder if he regrets taking the advice he was given.

Report: Earl Thomas plans to file grievance against Ravens

The situation between Earl Thomas and the Baltimore Ravens appears poised to get uglier.

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler said on SportsCenter Saturday that Thomas is not close to finding a new team, and likely won’t until September. The safety is, however, looking to file a grievance against the Ravens to recoup his guaranteed money.

“He doesn’t have anywhere to sign, he can wait, but he is loosely planning to file a grievance against the Baltimore Ravens over his $10 million in guarantees for 2020,” Fowler said, via Garrett Stepien of 247 Sports. “Ravens say he had conduct detrimental. Thomas … (said), ‘They had to suspend me for conduct detrimental in order to take my money.’ So that is a brewing battle. He expects to find a home sometime probably in September.”

Thomas will likely argue that he was never actually suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. The Ravens will cite that as the reason Thomas was cut. That may be enough. The Ravens will have to prove that Thomas’ conduct was detrimental. If reports about his actions are true, they probably have a pretty strong case.

Ravens headed for money dispute with Earl Thomas after release

Earl Thomas

The Baltimore Ravens released Earl Thomas on Sunday, and the way they described the transaction almost certainly indicates they are headed for a financial dispute with the star defensive back.

The Ravens issued a brief statement on Sunday that included some very specific language.

“We have terminated S Earl Thomas’ contract for personal conduct that has adversely affected the Baltimore Ravens,” the team said.

Thomas is owed $10 million this season, and that statement lays the groundwork for the Ravens to void his guaranteed money. The 31-year-old is being released for conduct detrimental to the team after he got into a fight with teammate Chuck Clark on Friday. Ravens team leaders were furious with Thomas over the situation and wanted him gone.

This is not the first time Thomas has gotten into it with a teammate, and there have likely been more incidents that never became public. Thomas tried to explain his side of what happened with Clark, but that obviously did not matter to teammates.

Thomas should not be a free agent for very long, as multiple teams are said to have interest in him.

Report: Ravens to part ways with Earl Thomas; Cowboys a possibility

Earl Thomas

The Baltimore Ravens are planning to cut ties with Earl Thomas, and the Dallas Cowboys are a strong possibility to acquire the All-Pro defensive back.

The Ravens will either trade Thomas or release him on Sunday for conduct detrimental to the team, according to multiple reports. ESPN’s Adam Schefter was told by a source that the Cowboys are the “leading contender” to land Thomas.

Thomas was sent home from practice on Friday after getting into a fight with teammate Chuck Clark. Ravens team leaders are said to be upset with Thomas over the situation and want him gone. The 31-year-old is still owed more than $30 million over the next three seasons, but Schefter noted that he could rework his deal in order to help facilitate a trade.

The fact that the Ravens are moving on from Thomas so quickly shows how serious his issues with his teammates are. Thomas also got into it with Brandon Williams after a game last year.

Thomas appeared in 15 games for Baltimore last season and had 49 total tackles, two sacks and two interceptions. He tried to explain his side of what happened with Clark in an Instagram post.