With the start of training camp just a few weeks away, the Baltimore Ravens addressed arguably the most glaring question mark on their loaded roster on Thursday. They agreed to terms on a one-year deal with veteran outside linebacker Justin Houston to return for the 2022 season.
Bringing back the four-time Pro Bowler makes perfect sense for both sides and seemed almost inevitable after the team placed the rarely used unrestricted free agent tender designation on him in early May. Houston is likely looking to add to his legacy by chasing a championship with a contender and the Ravens were in desperate need of reinforcements on the edge of their defensive front.
Prior to this signing, the Ravens’ were razor-thin with healthy options on their outside linebacker depth chart with both Tyus Bowser and rookie David Ojabo recovering from torn Achilles, and following the tragic sudden passing of Jaylon Ferguson. They signed journeyman veterans Vince Biegel and Steven Means following the 2022 NFL Draft but neither are notable additions.
Even though he recorded just 4.5 sacks in his first year as a Raven in 2021, Houston was one of the team’s most consistent edge defenders with the way he generated pressure and played the run better than expected. He logged 17 quarterback hits last season and currently ranks third among active players in career sacks with 102 behind only Von Miller (115.5) and Chandler Jones (107.5).
The 11-year veteran will benefit greatly from the improvements made to both the secondary and interior defensive line this offseason as well as the new scheme that first-year Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald will run.