On Thursday, the Baltimore Ravens confirmed the signing of veteran cornerback Ronald Darby. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, it’s a one-year deal worth up to $3.2 million. Below are the reactions from Beatdown contributors.
Bringing reinforcements to the cornerback position was a necessity prior to the loss of cornerback Marlon Humphrey. Now, with Humphrey sidelined for what is assumed part of the regular season, it’s proved an immediate move was necessary to get a player in, signed and up to speed for the opener in less than a month. Darby brings his own concerns as he is coming off a torn ACL in 2022, which ended his season after five games with the Denver Broncos.
Darby is a player you hope to get quality reps out of and help hold down the fort while your All-Pro heals. Then, you have what appears a solid rotation if health brings back cornerbacks Rock Ya-Sin and Arthur Maulet. Add in Jalyn Armour-Davis and the secondary could be back to settled, but much of this hinges on health which is in the hands of Lady Luck. — Kyle Barber
I am not sure how much this move will pay off in the immediate future, but it is a signing that I am confident will be looked at positively deep into the season as Darby gains more distance from his season-ending ACL tear of 2022. Baltimore’s current cornerback situation without Marlon Humphrey is quite dreadful on paper, especially with a Week 2 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals. It is hard to find quality corners this time of the offseason though so Darby is a welcome addition, even if it takes a little bit for him to be effective on the field. — Dustin Cox
All three of the veteran free agent cornerbacks the Ravens brought in for a visit prior to and following Humphrey undergoing foot surgery come with injury concerns of their own after all three of them suffered season-ending injuries in 2022. Filling the shoes of an All-Pro is not an easy task nor is it a one man job unless the player you’re replacing them with is another All-Pro of a equal or greater skill level.
Darby will be part of what will hopefully be short-lived hiatus for Humphrey and upon his return, the ninth-year veteran will be a provide the Ravens with a quality and experienced depth piece at a position where they can never have enough players of his pedigree. Head Coach John Harbaugh said on Wednesday that, “If you’re guy that’s out [there], and you’ve got some pedigree, you have to be in shape. You have to be ready to go. When you look at that, it’s really on those guys to be ready to play.”
If Darby wasn’t ready to roll and contribute right away, the Ravens wouldn’t have brought him in because their need for reinforcements at outside corner is in the immediate future not later down the road. They will be facing all three of their AFC North Division opponents in the first five weeks of the season and will need all hands on deck and all the healthy corners they can muster in Week 2 especially when they travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals who have a three-headed monster at wide receiver are expected to have Pro Bowl quarterback Joe Burrow back under center. — Joshua Reed
Darby is a good outside corner who’s capable of guarding No. 2 wide receivers and even competing against No. 1s. The fun thing about Darby is while he hasn’t done it a ton in his career, he’s got the body type and skill set to slide into the slot when Humphrey returns from his hopefully short hiatus. The issue with Darby, if there wasn’t enough in the room already, is health. He’s returning from ACL tear that happened 10 months ago. He’s only played a full season once in eight years.
The important thing to remember with Darby is he isn’t a replacement or fill-in for Humphrey. Nobody can just step in for an All-Pro. The best way to help the cornerback room right now is to beef up the front seven. A dominate front seven could allow the lower tier guys such as Rock Ya-Sin, Jalyn Armour-Davis, Brandon Stephens and Kevon Seymour to gain confidence and develop into quality snap takers. Specifically, David Ojabo and Odafe Oweh living up to the hype would be massive. Hopefully there’s an an addition such as Kyle Van Noy or Jadeveon Clowney to be added soon. — Zach Canter