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Ravens roster moves: Tyre Phillips to short term IR, active roster promotions and practice squad signings

Recapping the team’s most recent transactions over the past few days.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens made a handful of personnel moves in the past few days since returning home from their trip out west. Coming off a tough loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, they have done some roster reshuffling ahead of their Week 2 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Tyre Phillips placed on injured reserve, Trenton Cannon released

The Ravens opened up a pair of spots on the roster by placing the second-year offensive lineman on injured reserve and waived the fourth-year running back/special teams ace. Phillips was carted off the field just before halftime in the season opener with what looked like a serious knee injury. Cannon was just signed to the roster last week and carried the ball twice for five yards and recorded a solo special teams tackle in his one game as a Raven.

When Phillips went down in the season opener, it looked like he was likely going to join the latest in a rapidly growing list of Ravens starters and key contributors to suffer a season-ending injury to a lower extremity. However, on Wednesday, Head Coach John Harbaugh provided the first bit of good news for the team on the injury front in regards to the 2020 third-rounder.

In addition to being the starting left guard, Phillips was the Ravens’ top swing tackle option coming into the season. Knowing that he’ll be back at some point will provide the Ravens starting offensive with a big boost whether he returns to guard or replaces veteran Alejandro Villanueva at right tackle if his struggles persist in the coming weeks.

The Ravens were probably hoping that Cannon would clear waivers so that they would be able to re-sign him to the practice squad. However, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, he was claimed by the San Francisco 49ers after their starting running back Raheem Mostert underwent season-ending knee surgery.

Anthony Levine and Justin Ellis promoted to active roster

The Ravens filled two of their four open roster spots after the Phillips and Cannon transactions with a pair of familiar faces. The pair of veteran defenders were brought up to the active roster from the practice squad to play in the season opener on Monday but now their stay will be permanent for the time being.

Levine is the more tenured of the two since he’s spent the last decade of his career with the Ravens as a fixture and leader of their special teams unit. He played 27 snaps against the Raiders, all coming on special teams.

Ellis is in his third year with the team and second as a member from the start of the season. He was originally brought in early on in the 2019 season when the Ravens remodeled their defensive front seven on the fly and have signed two consecutive one-year deals to remain in Baltimore. He played in 13 snaps on defense against the Raiders and made on an impressive solo tackle for no gain.

Both he and Levine were released in the final round of cuts this year but the understanding was that they would be brought back on either the active roster or practice squad after some injury reserve finagling with some young players still on rookie contracts.

Andre Smith and Kevon Seymour signed to practice squad

As noted, the Ravens are bringing back the 14-year veteran offensive lineman and former first-round pick for what feels like the tenth time in the last month. He spent all of training camp with the team before being released midway through the preseason, was signed to the practice squad after the final cuts were made, and was released from the practice squad last week before signing back on Wednesday. Based on his play in exhibition games, he wouldn’t provide quality depth at tackle but he’d at least be an experienced insurance policy until Phillips returns.

In addition to Smith, the Ravens also signed veteran cornerback Kevon Seymour to the practice squad.

Seymour was one of several defensive backs that the Ravens brought in for a workout earlier this week. He entered the league as a sixth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills out of USC and has appeared in 33 career games including five starts.

Devonta Freeman promoted to active roster and Foster Sarell signed to practice squad

The Ravens officially have a pair of former 1,000 yard rushers on their running back depth chart after announcing the promotion of the two time Pro Bowler to the active roster. He joins a backfield headlined by 2020 undrafted free agent Ty'Son Williams and also includes his fellow recent veteran acquisition, Latavius Murray.

The Ravens released Trenton Cannon earlier on Tuesday, leaving a open spot on the active roster for a third running back. Freeman has been a better pass catcher than runner as of late but I'd still prefer the team keep Williams on the field for passing downs because if the juice he showed catching checkdowns out of backfield in the opener as well in the preseason.

Sarell is an undrafted rookie out of Stanford who signed with the Ravens back in May and spent the summer with the team. He's the second offensive tackle to be signed to the practice squad since the Ravens placed Phillips on short term injured reserve.