Although free agency does not officially begin until March 17, teams and players have already begun agreeing on contract terms. Per ESPN’s Josina Anderson, the Ravens have done just this with veteran DT Justin Ellis.
I'm told are #Ravens are going to bring back DT Justin Ellis on a 1-year deal worth $1.2M with 400k guaranteed, per source.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) March 3, 2021
This moves come as a bit of a surprise, at least this early in the free agency timeline.
Ellis, 30, has spent the better part of the past two seasons with the Ravens. He was a midseason acquisition in 2019 and the Ravens re-signed him to a one-year deal last offseason. Now, roughly one year later, it appears they’re intent on doing the same again.
The seven-year veteran played 358 defensive snaps in 2020 and 15 on special teams. Ellis appeared in 13 games and drew three starts. He recorded 17 combined tackles on the year and earned a PFF grade of 50.5. In the postseason, he played 15 snaps against the Titans in the Wild Card game and was a healthy scratch against the Bills in the Divisional Round.
Ellis was one of several defensive players on the Ravens roster set to hit unrestricted free agency in the coming days. Along the front-seven alone, this includes Derek Wolfe and Jihad Ward, as well as the quartet of edge rushers in Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngaouke, Tyus Bowser, and Pernell McPhee.
It will be interesting to see how the front office navigates this group, but Ellis will evidently be back in the fold as a backup next season.