Ravens set to re-sign DT Justin Ellis on 1-year deal

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Matthew Stevens
·2 min read
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The Baltimore Ravens revamped their defensive line last offseason and apparently are looking to keep it rolling into 2021. According to NFL reporter Josina Anderson and confirmed by The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, the Ravens are bringing back defensive tackle Justin Ellis. It’ll be a one-year deal worth $1.2 million

Baltimore originally signed Ellis midway through the 2019 season after a short stint with the Oakland Raiders. However, he was active for just four games with the Ravens that season. Still, Baltimore brought him back last offseason where he saw far more playing time, playing 34% of the defensive snaps and starting three games while Brandon Williams was out on the COVID-19 list. While Ellis hasn’t put up much in the way of stats, the Ravens’ coaching staff clearly likes what they’ve seen from him.

Re-signing Ellis would seem to be solely for depth but it is an interesting move when you consider Baltimore selected defensive tackles Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington Jr. in the 2020 NFL draft. While Madubuike battled injuries and Washington only played on 15% of the defense’s snaps, both could be in line for far more playing time in 2021.

At the same time, the move could signal a desire to adjust Williams’ contract to free up some cap space. Williams is currently in the final year of his deal and carries a $14.42 million cap hit — the third highest on the team in 2021 — according to Over The Cap. Cutting Williams outright would free up $7.5 million, which is a massive amount considering the Ravens are currently projected to have just $18 million in available salary-cap funds. Ellis is by no means as capable as Williams but at just 8% of the cost and with Calais Campbell helping solidify the defensive line, Baltimore could be preparing to make a surprising move ahead of free agency.

Regardless of what happens elsewhere on the roster, the Ravens have brought back a defensive player they clearly like who has starting experience, and all for pretty cheap. It might not be the biggest move we’ve seen Baltimore make but it’s one that makes a lot of sense for them.

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