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Late for Work 4/21: Calais Campbell Talks About Free-Agency Decision, Ravens' 'Two Young Beasts' on Defensive Line

DE Calais Campbell
DE Calais Campbell

Calais Campbell Talks About Aaron Rodgers Trying to Recruit Him to Jets, Ravens' 'Two Young Beasts' on Defensive Line

When the Ravens cut Calais Campbell last month in a cost-saving move, General Manager Eric DeCosta stated that he was "not closing the door on the possibility of him returning to our team in the future."

However, it didn't take long for other teams to pursue the veteran defensive lineman, who went on to sign a one-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons reportedly worth $7 million.

During an appearance on “The Crew” podcast with Josina Anderson, Campbell said the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, and Buffalo Bills also showed interest in him.

"I did get a lot of activity," Campbell said. "I got calls and offers pretty early on. Within the first three or four days after the initial free agency wave, I started getting a lot of calls and some pretty quick offers. When it came down to it, I really liked the way Atlanta wanted to use me and I saw what they were building."

Campbell revealed that Aaron Rodgers, who is expected to be eventually traded to the Jets, personally tried to recruit him.

"Aaron Rodgers texted me. He was like, 'Come on, man, let's go win a championship together,'" Campbell said. "It was appealing to have Aaron Rodgers text you, talking about winning a Super Bowl together, but when it came down to it, I just got this gut feeling that Atlanta was a special place and the value I could bring was the most effective there."

Campbell said the Falcons plan to use him as a true defensive end, something he hasn't done exclusively since playing with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2017-2019.

"I know going into Year 16 it's going to be a bit of a challenge," said Campbell, who turns 37 in September. "Everybody on the outside looking in [will say], 'Can he still be effective off the edge?' My mindset is yeah, and I like the challenge to go out there and prove it."

Campbell said he understands why the Ravens let him go.

"Eric DeCosta made it clear that he'd love to have me back but he just couldn't make it happen with the current cap situation," Campbell said. "I played good football still; it definitely wasn't about my ability to play football. But they got some young beasts.

"I told Broderick Washington, 'Man, you're playing so good you're going to get me cut.' I told him that at the beginning of the year. … He's a great young player. Justin Madubuike, great young player, and when you have two young beasts like that, and they're cheap and they're capable, it's just one of those things."

Tyler Huntley Reportedly Will Sign His Restricted Free Agent Tender

It looks like Tyler Huntley will be back with the Ravens. Per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, the backup quarterback will sign his restricted free agent tender on Monday.

The Ravens used the right-of-first refusal tender on Huntley in March, which meant that if another team signed him to an offer sheet, they would have had an opportunity to match. Huntley's tender is worth $2.627 million in 2023 and he'll be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Huntley, undrafted in 2020, started nine games over the past two seasons in place of an injured Lamar Jackson. Huntley threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens' 24-17 playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last season.

Huntley went to the Pro Bowl Games in February, finishing second in the precision passing competition and tossing four touchdowns in the flag football games.

Ravens Named Best Fit for Texas' Other Running Back Prospect

Some mock drafts have had the Ravens selecting Texas running back Bijan Robinson in the first round, but Bleacher Report’s Matt Holder said Baltimore is the best landing spot for another Longhorns running back in Roschon Johnson.

"The Ravens hold the 86th and 124th overall picks in the draft, and Johnson ranks 90th overall with a fourth-round grade on B/R's latest big board. He should be in Baltimore's range with a middle-round pick," wrote Holder, who noted that Johnson's aptitude in pass protection could make him a good fit in Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken's scheme.


In four seasons with Texas, Johnson rushed for 2,190 yards and 23 touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry.

"His blend of size, burst, power and pass-protection skills make him immediately viable as an RB2 and third-down back," Bleacher Report's Derrik Klassen wrote. "Getting Johnson into a downhill, gap-centric run scheme would unlock his skill set and give him the best chance to grow into a starting role."

The Ravens have three running backs under contract in J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill.

Ravens Trade Down to Select Tennessee WR Jalin Hyatt in Sports Illustrated Pundit's All-Trades Mock Draft

Sports Illustrated’s Matt Verderame proposed trades for all 31 first-round picks, using only 2023 draft choices in return compensation.

Verderame has the Ravens trading the 22nd-overall pick and their fourth-round selection (No. 124 overall) to Dallas for the Cowboys' first-round (No. 26) and third-round (No. 90) picks. He then has Baltimore selecting Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt in the first round.

"Even after signing Odell Beckham Jr., Baltimore still has a serious need at receiver. … Taking Hyatt here would make sense," Verderame wrote. "Although he struggled as a freshman and sophomore at Tennessee, he caught fire as a junior with 67 receptions for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns."

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