The Ravens used the second wave of free agency to add some fierce competition to this year’s training camp with three veterans looking to rejuvenate their careers.
Coach John Harbaugh probably could not be happier about the turn of events.
The common thread among these deals?
Low-risk, high reward.
DeCosta did not break the bank for any of these players with the short-term deals. In return, Ray, McPhee and Floyd have an opportunity to show they can still be key contributors.
The Ravens needed depth at linebacker and have to develop an effective pass rush this offseason after losing Terrell Suggs, C.J. Mosley and Za’Darius Smith in free agency. DeCosta drafted Jaylon Ferguson in the third round to help fill the void. Ferguson finished his career at Louisiana Tech as the FBS’s all-time sacks leader with 45, eclipsing the previous mark set by Terrell Suggs.
However, he remains an unknown commodity at the NFL level and might need some time to develop. Enter Ray and McPhee, both of whom are coming off down seasons but have a successful track record. The Ravens won’t ask either player to dramatically change the game, but they can expect some type of effective production to help support Matthew Judon, Patrick Onwuasor and Kenny Young.
McPhee had a breakout season with the Ravens in 2014 with 7.5 sacks, but the team let him hit the free-agent market. He signed a lucrative deal in Chicago and had six sacks in 2015. From there, his production began to fall off and he finished with four sack in both 2016 and 2017 and none last year for the Redskins.
“I’m thrilled to be back where it all started for me,” McPhee said. “I feel rejuvenated and can’t wait to join the No. 1 defense from last season. I have so much respect for this franchise and city, and I look forward to being a Raven once again.”
Ray is still young at age 26 and a former first-round pick (23rd overall) in 2015 by the Denver Broncos. He tallied a career-high eight sacks in 2016, but has missed 13 games over the last two seasons because of injuries. Ray managed just one sack in each of the past two seasons. The Ravens hope he can find that former spark with the change of scenery.
The signing of Floyd marks a departure from the Ravens’ recent moves within their wide receiver room. The team drafted Hollywood Brown with their first round pick in the 2019 Draft and then selected Miles Boykin two rounds later. A pair of second-year players Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley are also competing for playing time.
Floyd, also a first-round pick (13th overall) of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Cardinals, spent last season with the Washington Redskins, appearing in 13 games with 10 catches for 100 yards. He will look to boost those numbers in Baltimore where he will unite with tight ends coach Andy Bischoff, who was his high school coach in Minnesota.
Floyd, 29, is looking to find some of his previous success. He caught a career-high 65 passes in 2013 and had another 52 receptions for the Cardinals in 2015. He also has steady hands and has five or fewer drops over his eight-year career.