Every team in the NFL has to reduce their roster from 85 to 80 by 4pm EST on Tuesday but the Baltimore Ravens got things started a day early by making four moves on Monday. They released veteran offensive tackle Andre Smith and veteran safety Jordan Richards, waived wide receiver Michael Dereus and placed veteran inside linebacker L.J. Fort on season-ending injured reserve.
The news on Fort was expected after reports and Head Coach John Harbaugh himself confirmed that he will miss the entire 2021 season with a torn ACL that he suffered in the first half of Saturday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
Smith is a former first-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 and signed a one-year deal with the Ravens last offseason before opting out of the 2020 season for COVID-19 concerns. His tenure with the team was lackluster, to say the least. After a year off, he struggled in training camp according to multiple reports, and struggled in the preseason too where he often looked slow and outmatched in the Ravens’ first two preseason games.
For a team without a whole lot of depth at offensive tackle, the fact that they were willing to move on from him with another exhibition game left to play speaks volumes about how Smith was viewed by the organization.
Richards signed a one-year deal to re-sign with the team this offseason and while he is excellent on special teams, he’s was outplayed by some of the younger safeties both in practice and in preseason games. He could still be a candidate to be brought back at some point, either after the final cuts to allow them to stash some players on short-term IR to start the season or during the regular season if an injury were to occur.
Dereus was brought in to help take some training camp reps at wide receiver before he was sidelined with an injury. He was an undrafted free agent in 2020 out of Georgetown who spent some time in training camp with the Ravens last year.