After months of speculation, the Ravens have made it happen, signing veteran pass rusher Justin Houston to a one-year deal.
The deal, which was agreed to Saturday after three days of training camp practice, has been a long time coming, as Houston first visited the Ravens in April. He passed his physical and it became official Monday.
Baltimore has been looking to boost its pass rush after the losses of Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency. The Ravens drafted Odafe Oweh in the first round and Daelin Hayes in the fifth, but they are still learning the ropes.
Though the rookies look promising, Houston is a proven quarterback tormenter. He registered 19 sacks over the past two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and has 97.5 sacks over his 10-year career. A third-round pick in 2011, Houston played his first eight seasons for the Kansas City Chiefs before going to Indianapolis.
Houston will allow Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale – a man who blitzes more than anyone in the NFL – more flexibility in his play-calling. Martindale would have brought pressure either way, but Houston can win more of those one-on-one battles on the edge.
The 32-year-old Houston will also be a great mentor for Oweh and Hayes, helping teach the talented youngsters the NFL ropes. Baltimore now has a pair of veterans with Houston and Pernell McPhee, as well as other talented young players such as Tyus Bowser, Jaylon Ferguson and more.
Considering the strength of the Ravens secondary, adding a top-notch pass rusher to the defensive front will force quarterbacks to make tough and quick decisions.