L.J. Fort is returning to the Ravens after all, as the two sides have agreed to a one-year contract.
The Ravens did not pick up Fort's 2021 option in mid-March, allowing the veteran linebacker to hit the free-agent market.
He was reportedly set to count for $2.25 million against the salary cap before being let go, so his return likely means the Ravens saved some money under a tighter cap.
Fort, 31, has been a strong and reliable player in the middle of the Ravens defense. He was the team's best inside linebacker in coverage and has shown a knack for making plays, as he forced one fumble and scooped up two others last season, including one returned for a touchdown in Houston.
After joining the Ravens midway through the 2019 season, Fort played in 14 games and made eight starts last season, finishing with a career-high 53 tackles. Playing next to first-round pick Patrick Queen, Fort was an important part of a rotation with Malik Harrison and Chris Board. Fort played 36 percent of the defensive snaps and was a key special teams player.
Retaining Fort means the Ravens have plenty of versatility and depth at inside linebacker, giving the defense and new Inside Linebackers Coach Rob Ryan plenty of talent and experience to work with.