Report: Jason Pierre-Paul Visits Ravens And It 'Went Well'
Three-time Pro Bowl edge rusher Jason Pierre-Paul reportedly met with the Ravens yesterday and the visit "went well," according to CBS Sports' Josina Anderson.
Pierre-Paul posted an Instagram story from inside the Ravens locker room last night with a caption that read: "Currently good vibes."
With outside linebackers Tyus Bowser (Achilles), Odafe Oweh (shoulder) and David Ojabo (Achilles) all recovering from surgeries, the expectation has been that the Ravens would sign a veteran pass rusher.
Pierre-Paul and Justin Houston, both of whom are 33, are among a handful of edge rushers remaining on the free-agent market.
It was reported last month that the Ravens used the unrestricted free-agent tender on Houston. That means If Houston signs with a new team before July 22 or the first day of training camp, whichever is later, the signing would count toward the NFL's compensatory formula. If he doesn't sign by the deadline, Baltimore would retain exclusive negotiating rights at 110 percent of his 2021 salary, according to the NFL's Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Pierre-Paul has spent the past four seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and eight years with the New York Giants. He has 91.5 career sacks.
Playing with a torn rotator cuff last season, Pierre-Paul was limited to 2.5 sacks in 12 games. He underwent surgery on his shoulder in February.
In 2020, Pierre-Paul had 9.5 sacks and four forced fumbles, made the Pro Bowl and helped the Buccaneers win the Super Bowl. From 2018–2020, he had 30.5 sacks in 42 games.
How Did Ravens' Running Back Unit and Receiving Corps Fare in PFF's Positional Rankings?
Given the Ravens' run-oriented offense, it's no surprise where the team's running back unit and receiving corps landed in Pro Football Focus' positional rankings.
The running backs came in at No. 10, while the receivers (which includes tight ends) were No. 29.
"The Ravens' entire roster was hit hard by injuries in 2021, and their backfield was one of the units hit hardest," PFF's Ben Linsey wrote. "They don't have an elite back at the top of the depth chart, but J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards' return from injury along with the Mike Davis and Tyler Badie additions give the Ravens one of the deeper groups in the NFL that will take advantage of the attention that Lamar Jackson draws in the run game. Baltimore is the only team in the NFL that's averaged over 2.0 rushing yards before contact per attempt (2.2) over the last three seasons."
Linsey noted that if fullbacks were taken into account, the Ravens would have received a slight bump in the rankings because of Patrick Ricard's contributions.
Regarding the Ravens' receiving corps, Linsey wrote: "The biggest thing keeping the Ravens from falling any lower is Mark Andrews — the second-most valuable tight end in 2021, per PFF WAR. The Marquise Brown trade puts a lot on the shoulders of unproven options, including Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace and James Proche, even if Baltimore uses heavy personnel often.
"Rashod Bateman stands out as the clear No. 1 at wide receiver after recording a 64.9 PFF grade on just over 600 snaps as a rookie. He missed the early portion of his rookie season due to injury and didn't have a healthy Lamar Jackson at quarterback for much of the season after he returned to the lineup. He's a potential second-year breakout candidate, and the Ravens need him to make that happen."
AFC North teams were at the top of both rankings, with the Cleveland Browns having the top running back unit and the Cincinnati Bengals the No. 1 receiving corps.
Ray Lewis Named Third-Greatest Defensive Player in NFL History
Aaron Donald's contract extension that makes him the highest-paid non-quarterback in NFL history has sparked debate about the greatest defensive players of all time.
CBS Sports’ Jeff Kerr compiled a top-10 list, and he has Ray Lewis at No. 3.
"Lewis has accolades that are unmatched for his position in NFL history," Kerr wrote. "The face of the Baltimore Ravens, Lewis is the first — and only — player in NFL history with 40 sacks and 30 interceptions in a career, while his 50 career takeaways (31 interceptions, 19 fumble recoveries) rank second among linebackers since the AFL-NFL merger. … He's arguably the greatest inside linebacker in NFL history."
Reggie White and Lawrence Taylor were the only players ranked ahead of Lewis. In addition to Lewis, former Ravens Deion Sanders (No. 4) and Rod Woodson (No. 9) made the list.
NFL.com writers also listed their top three defenders in NFL history this week and only one scribe, DeAngelo Hall, had Lewis on their list.
Justin Tucker Tops List of Most Likable Ravens
There's no shortage of Ravens players who are easy to root for, but none more than Justin Tucker, according to Ebony Bird’s Kristen Wong, who put the All-Pro kicker at the top of her list of most likable Ravens.
"Picture this: the Ravens are setting up for a potential game-winning field goal in the last seconds of a game. Fans nervously bite their nails as they await either pure bliss or pure heartbreak, and then Justin Tucker steps onto the field. A collective sigh of relief," Wong wrote. "Does any Ravens player make you smile more than Justin Tucker? The lovable kicker has cemented his place in Ravens history after breaking numerous records throughout his decade-long career and is already considered one of the greatest of all time at his position."
Beyond his phenomenal on-field accomplishments, the Ravens' renaissance man has won fans' hearts in other ways.
"Tucker also has immersed himself in the Baltimore community, engaging with fans at local parks during offseason workouts, showing off his baritone voice in charity concerts at the Baltimore Basilica," PressBox’s Bo Smolka wrote when Tucker was named the publication's Mo Gaba Sportsperson of the Year for 2021. "He's also been a steadfast supporter of the Baltimore School for the Arts and has been seen belting out an 'O!' during the national anthem at Ravens games. He even proposed to his wife, Amanda, overlooking the Inner Harbor."