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Justin Houston signs with Carolina Panthers

Houston will not be returning to Baltimore

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

The Carolina Panthers have reached an agreement with outside linebacker Justin Houston on a one-year deal, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

This puts an end to the speculation that the veteran edge rusher would return for a third season with the Baltimore Ravens. Houston is coming off a strong 2022 season in which he finished with 9.5 sacks and an interception. Over his two seasons with the Ravens, Houston accumulated 55 total tackles, 14 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and an interception.

Baltimore will be relying on their young players to step up this season at the outside linebacker position, most notably third-year Odafe Oweh and second-year David Ojabo. Tyus Bowser is the lone veteran of the group but is currently on the non-football injury list with a knee issue. Whether or not the versatile linebacker will be ready to start the season is presently unknown. Baltimore brought in veteran outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy for a visit in June but no deal has been made between the two parties yet. Jason Pierre-Paul, who also spent last season with the Ravens, is still available as well.

Baltimore is likely hoping that renowned pass-rushing guru Chuck Smith can elevate the young players currently on the roster as the team’s new outside linebacker coach. Still, it would be wise to add a veteran to the room before the start of the regular season, particularly at the SAM linebacker position, which Van Noy fits the profile of with his coverage ability.