OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Hoping their young outside linebackers take a major step forward in 2023, the Ravens still needed to add an established edge rusher to the mix.
Baltimore agreed to terms on a one-year deal with three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney, a move that came just two days after three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey underwent foot surgery that’s expected to keep him sidelined through the start of the season. The deal is worth up to $6 million, according to CBS Sports. Clowney was in the team’s training facility to sign his contract on Friday afternoon and even went out to the field to watch the final half of practice from the sideline.
The first overall pick of the 2014 draft, Clowney visited with the Ravens earlier this month and spent the last two seasons in Cleveland, collecting 11 sacks over 26 games. However, his departure from the Browns was messy as he was sent home by the team in early January and deactivated for the 2022 finale after making critical remarks about the organization.
Pro Football Focus graded Clowney 27th overall among 119 qualified edge defenders, 19th in run defense, and 43rd in pass rush during the 2022 season. The 6-foot-5, 255-pound South Carolina product registered two sacks and four quarterback hits in 12 games last season. Since making his last Pro Bowl in 2018, Clowney has recorded more than three sacks in a season just once in four years.
Now reunited with Ravens defensive line coach Anthony Weaver — who coached the 30-year-old in the same capacity in Houston from 2016-18 — Clowney joins a position group that’s been without starting strong-side linebacker Tyus Bowser, who remains on the non-football injury list due to a knee injury. Clowney’s 43 sacks over nine seasons are more than the rest of the current outside linebacker position group combined (28 1/2).
With the Ravens still depleted at cornerback even after signing veteran Ronald Darby on Thursday, beefing up the pass rush became a greater priority. Veteran edge rusher Justin Houston — who led them with nine sacks last season — signed with Carolina earlier this month while defensive end Calais Campbell landed in Atlanta after finishing tied for second with 5 1/2 sacks for Baltimore last year.