Ravens agree to one-year deal with troubled linebacker Rolando McClain


(Updated: 6:45 p.m.)
The Ravens have agreed in principle on a one-year deal with troubled former Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain.
McClain will reportedly meet with team officials to discuss the Ravens’ expectations and to finalize the deal on Friday. The deal is worth $700,000 with other performance incentives built into the agreement, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The eighth overall pick of the 2010 draft is an Alabama product, linking him to general manager Ozzie Newsome and reuniting him with former defensive teammates Terrence Cody and Courtney Upshaw.
McClain’s pro career has been riddled with off-field issues, leading to his release late last week after much speculation that he would be jettisoned by Oakland. He was due $4.05 million this season and more than $5 million in 2014 and cleared waivers to become a free agent just a few days ago. The Raiders elected to carry roughly $11 million in dead money on their cap this season to be rid of McClain.
Several teams had reportedly shown interest in the linebacker since he became available. News first surfaced of his potential signing in the Madison (Ala.) Weekly News, who spoke to the newspaper on Tuesday. McClain told the publication he would sign a one-year deal with Baltimore.
“It’s a move that can’t go wrong and I’m looking forward to playing in Baltimore as the Ravens run the same or very similar defense as I was a part of at the University of Alabama,” McClain told the publication.
In addition to underwhelming play on the field after being named the 2009 Butkus Award winner, McClain has been a major distraction off it as he faced misdemeanor charges of third-degree assault, menacing, reckless endangerment, and illegal discharge of a firearm in his hometown of Decatur, Ala. in 2011. The charges were eventually dropped after an original conviction was appealed.
Most recently, the 23-year-old was arrested in January after failing to sign a citation related to illegal window tint on his vehicle.
The Raiders suspended McClain for conduct detrimental to the team after a clash with new head coach Dennis Allen last season. McClain responded by making critical comments on his Facebook page that suggested he was finished with the organization.
McClain is regarded by many as a two-down linebacker who doesn’t excel in pass coverage, which would not address the Ravens’ need of finding another linebacker with the ability to cover running backs and tight ends.
The Ravens’ interest in McClain became intriguing after they recently signed veteran safety Michael Huff, who played with the linebacker in Oakland and would figure to have a good read on his character to offer feedback to the organization. However, Baltimore finds itself with a transitioning locker room from a leadership standpoint following the departures of standout leaders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

In 11 games last season, he collected 62 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.


  1. Give the guy a chance! Sometimes a change in scenary is best for everyone. But I will be the 1st guy to criticize if/when he messes up

  2. After reading the Madison Weekly article, I am holding out hope that this young man really desires to live his life in the positive. I am impressed that he bought a home that was within his means. Hopefully the environment and work culture established by the Ravens will encourage and motivate him to be the best player he can be.
    Speaking to the environment, while Ray has always been cited as the “force” in the locker room, I have to believe that the owner/ management team is largely responsible for the “treat them like men” attitude that permeates the team. McClain will see the goodness and courage that is OJ Brigance. He will see men around him checking their egos and will come to understand the effort, sacrifice and responsibility to TEAM. I think this will be a good signing. I hope that when the year is up, when he gets the chance to compare and contrast this experience to his prior experience, he recognizes that the Ravens are a special organization, in which he should set his roots.
    (L.J. – I don’t disagree with the infrastructure of the organization having a positive impact, but the Ravens often avoid players with this much baggage — not entirely, of course — and there is risk involved when you look at some of the support system that’s now gone. As long as it’s not a steep financial commitment, I suppose it’s worth the risk. He’ll need to prove himself off the field as well as on the field as his play has been solid but underwhelming after plenty of hype coming out of Alabama.)

  3. It used to be the Raiders took guys like him and they flourished in the Madden and Flores days now they all go to Baltimore and flourish. Who cares just win baby . Right player right price .

  4. I think it is a safe move.If he turns out not to be our long term solution do you think the move hurts our chances of getting a linebacker in the Draft. Both Denver & now Oakland are in need of one.

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