A day after linebacker Chris Board agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions, the Ravens lost another unrestricted defensive free agent on Wednesday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that veteran defensive tackle Justin Ellis is signing a one-year deal to join the New York Giants.
Ellis will re-unite with former Ravens’ defensive lineman Jihad Ward, who also signed with the Giants earlier this week. The Giants’ new defensive coordinator is a familiar face in Don “Wink” Martindale, who served the same role in Baltimore for four consecutive seasons before the two sides parted ways this offseason.
The 31-year-old Ellis has been with the Ravens since Week 6 of 2019. He was a midseason pickup and appeared in four games, playing a total of 60 defensive snaps. The Ravens re-signed him to a one-year deal in each of the past two free agency cycles. He suited up in 30 games and drew eight starts over the past two seasons as a rotational defensive tackle.
Ellis was never a stat-sheet stuffer but could be counted on for some consistent and steady play whenever thrust into the lineup. This came in handy at times when the likes of Brandon Williams, Derek Wolfe and Calais Campbell missed time with injury.
Ellis’ brief Ravens’ tenure concludes with him recording 41 combined tackles and one quarterback hit in 34 games. In 2021, he posted four quarterback pressures after previously never getting a single one in his career.
There wasn’t great optimism that Ellis would return to the Ravens in 2022, but his departure further re-enforces the team’s need to remake their front-seven. Although the Ravens recently signed Michael Pierce to a three-year contract, Williams and Campbell remain unrestricted free agents — while Wolfe is recovering from offseason hip surgery.
If the Ravens don’t re-sign Williams or Campbell, they could look to add another veteran at the position to replace Ellis at the backend of the depth chart. Additionally, they will likely add at least one or two defensive lineman in the draft next month, possibly in the first or second round.