The Ravens kicked off their 2018 free-agency signings by bringing back one of their own, inking defensive end Brent Urban to a one-year deal.
It’s not headline-grabbing move, but it’s one that could have a big impact.
Urban, 26, looked to be on the verge of a breakout season last year before he suffered a Lisfranc foot injury in Week 3, which sent him to injured reserve.
Urban was the team's only starting defensive player that was set to hit the free-agency market.
The 6-foot-7, 300-pound behemoth started the first three games and was swallowing up ball carriers and showing good pressure on quarterbacks. During the Ravens’ first preseason game last year, he logged four tackles, one sack and two forced fumbles in just a quarter of work.
Without Urban, the Ravens shuffled in Bronson Kaufusi, Chris Wormley and, eventually, Willie Henry. While Henry emerged and Wormley was solid in his rookie season, Baltimore’s defense wasn’t the same.
If Urban is going to reclaim his starting job and reach his potential, he has to stay healthy.
A fourth-round pick out of Virginia in 2014, Urban has played in just 25 games in four seasons. He sat out his entire rookie year (ACL), missed the first six games of 2015 (torn biceps), then was sidelined for 13 games last year.
In his only full season in 2016, Urban didn’t make any starts and registered 10 tackles, two sacks and two passes defensed. He’s also blocked two field goals during his career.
Re-signing Urban isn’t surprising considering Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear that he wanted Urban back, and there likely wasn’t going to be a huge market for his services. Urban also wanted to return to finish what he started.
“I love the organization and everyone here. I feel really comfortable. It’s my second home,” the Canadian said in January. “Even though last year was short lived, it was good because I know I can be an impact player.”