Entering this offseason, edge rusher was once again one of the Ravens’ biggest areas of need to address. With 2021 leading sack-getter Tyus Bowser recovering from a torn achilles and Justin Houston hitting free agency, a lot was up in the air at the position.
In the draft, the Ravens selected Michigan’s David Ojabo in the second round. Ojabo’s near-term availability is still in question as he too returns from an achilles injury, though. Last month, the Ravens applied an unrestricted free agent tender on Houston. If he remains unsigned through July 22, Houston will only be able to play for Baltimore in 2022.
While there’s been no indication of Houston signing with another team, it appears the Ravens aren’t going to be complacent in the mean time. On Thursday evening, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that the Ravens hosted veteran Jason Pierre-Paul for a free agent visit.
Three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul is visiting the #Ravens today, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) June 9, 2022
Pierre-Paul, like Houston, is 33 years old and has made multiple Pro Bowls and an All-Pro selection in his career. The 12-year veteran played eight seasons with the New York Giants, who drafted him in 2010, before signing with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2018.
“JPP”, as he’s commonly reffered to as, was one of the league’s most consistent sack artists at the peak of his career. He has 91.5 career sacks to his name, as well as 164 quarterback hits, 122 tackles for loss and 21 forced fumbles.
In 12 games this past season, Pierre-Paul recorded his lowest sack (2.5) and quarterback hit (five) totals since 2015. However, while no longer in his athletic prime, he is just one year removed from a Pro Bowl campaign in 2020, where he played an integral role on the Buccaneers’ championship defense.
The remaining veteran pass-rusher market is not incredibly fruitful, leaving players like Houston and Pierre-Paul near the top of the list. It’s unlikely anything immediately comes out of Pierre-Paul’s visit on Thursday; it’s more likely a case of the Ravens doing their diligence and laying the groundwork for a potential pivot if Houston signs elsewhere.
However, either way it’s a situation worth monitoring, as well as an indication that the Ravens are still surveying the free agent market — even after adding an infusion of talent to their defense thus far in the offseason.