The Ravens will have a new punt/kickoff returner in 2020. De'Anthony Thomas will not play in 2020 and has been placed on the reserve/voluntary opt-out list.
An agreement reached between the league and the NFLPA allows players to opt out of the 2020 season during the COVID-19 pandemic. Kansas City Chiefs starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, a medical school graduate who has been working in a long-term care facility in Canada during the pandemic, was the first player to opt out over the weekend.
Drafted by the Chiefs in 2014, Thomas spent more than five seasons in Kansas City before he was waived in October and signed by Baltimore in November. In eight games with the Ravens, Thomas returned 13 punts for an average of 7.2 yards and returned 10 kickoffs for an average of 16.6 yards.
Sixth-round pick James Proche will have an opportunity to win the punt return job in 2020. Proche was one of the nation's most prolific wide receivers at SMU with 111 receptions, but he also returned 17 punts for a 9.6-yard average, displaying a skill that not every wide receiver has, even those with sure hands.
"One of the hardest things to do is catch a punt," Ravens Director of Player Personnel Joe Hortiz said this Spring. "If that thing turns over, I think it's like a missile BB coming down at you. James, he's really instinctive, has really good vision. He catches it really secure, but then he gets upfield quick. He doesn't waste time trying to go East and West. He gets upfield and he has that vision and balance where he can make guys miss along the way and can get positive yards."
In other roster moves, three undrafted rookies were among four players waived Monday – guards Evan Adams of Syracuse and Daishawn Dixon of San Diego State, and kicker Nick Vogel of Alabama-Birmingham. Guard R.J. Prince was also waived. Prince was on the Ravens' practice squad after spending 2018 on the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad as an undrafted rookie.
Rookie tight end Jacob Breeland of Oregon was placed on the active non-football injury list. Breeland suffered a knee injury in October that ended his final college season after catching 26 passes for 405 yards and six touchdowns through six games.
Before his injury, Breeland was expected to be one of the top tight ends drafted. He and undrafted tight end Eli Wolf from Georgia will compete for a roster spot behind Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews and veteran tight end Nick Boyle. Former first-round pick Hayden Hurst, part of Baltimore's tight end group the past two seasons, was traded to the Atlanta Falcons during the offseason.