With Rashod Bateman still sidelined with a foot injury and the Ravens struggling to get production at wide receiver, general manager Eric DeCosta went down an all-too-familiar avenue in hopes of a boost on Tuesday.
Baltimore has signed former Pro Bowl wideout DeSean Jackson to its practice squad. The team hadn’t announced the addition as of early Wednesday morning, but the 35-year-old made multiple references to joining the organization on his verified Instagram account. The Ravens worked out both Jackson and Baltimore native Tavon Austin on Tuesday.
Playing for the Los Angeles Rams and Las Vegas last year, the oft-injured Jackson appeared in 16 games, the most he had played since 2013. The veteran wideout caught 20 passes for 454 yards and two touchdowns that went for 75 and 56 yards, still showing the speed the Ravens could use at the moment. Jackson hadn’t been with an NFL team since finishing the 2021 season with the Raiders.
The 2008 second-round pick out of California owns five 1,000-yard receiving seasons in his career — the most recent coming with Washington in 2016 — and has caught 632 passes for 11,110 yards and 58 touchdowns over 14 seasons. In his prime with Philadelphia, the three-time Pro Bowl selection was one of the best big-play threats of the last 25 years.
Jackson becomes the latest high-profile wide receiver well past his prime to join the Ravens. The strategy hasn’t fetched much of a return in recent years with Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, Dez Bryant, and Sammy Watkins among those failing to move the needle. DeCosta traded former No. 1 wide receiver Marquise Brown on the opening night of the 2022 draft and didn’t select a wide receiver with any of Baltimore’s 11 picks or make a veteran signing until adding former Kansas City Chief Demarcus Robinson late in the summer.
While Devin Duvernay has taken a healthy jump with 18 receptions for 240 yards and three touchdowns in his third season, other wide receivers have accounted for just seven catches for 54 yards with Bateman out for the last two games.
On Monday, Harbaugh provided an update on the 2021 first-round pick, who hasn’t played or practiced since hurting his left foot in the Oct. 2 loss to Buffalo. The Ravens initially described Bateman as “day to day” with a mid-foot injury.
“It turned out to be a sprain in the foot,” Harbaugh said. “I’m going to tell you, but you guys are going to say, ‘Yeah, you always say that.’ He’s close. He’s close. We’re close on a lot of guys. I’m looking forward to all those guys being back.
“But we’ll be talking about him this week. We’ll be talking about him on Thursday.”
In addition to Jackson, the Ravens signed outside linebackers Devon Kennard and Julian Stanford to their practice squad. To make room, they released outside linebackers Brandon Copeland and Jeremiah Attaochu, who had both been elevated to play in recent games. A former Gilman star, Copeland registered a sack in the Week 3 win at New England.
Baltimore also designated rookie tight end Charlie Kolar to return to practice from injured reserve. The fourth-round pick out of Iowa State underwent sports hernia surgery early in training camp.