OWINGS MILLS, MD – The Ravens are upgrading their backfield.
On Monday evening, it was reported that the Ravens had agreed to terms with ex-Chargers and Patriots running back Danny Woodhead. On Thursday afternoon, it was announced that the deal in principle between Woodhead and the Ravens is a three-year deal.
Woodhead, 32, played in only two games last season before undergoing an ACL surgery. An undrafted rookie out of Chadron State, he spent the first three seasons of his career with the New York Jets before having a featured role with the Patriots, whom he also spent three seasons with. Following his time with New England, he spent four seasons with the Chargers.
Woodhead presents a threat as both a runner and a receiver. He has 900 or more yards from scrimmage in four seasons. He has about as many rushing touchdowns (15), as he has receiving scores (17). He may not be the lead blocker that Kyle Juszczyk (who is leaving to sign with the 49ers) is, but his abilities as both a runner and receiver present matchup problems for defenses.
The acquisition of Woodhead could become pivotal for Baltimore, as it was announced that running back Kenneth Dixon is suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Earlier this week, the Ravens extended first round tenders to their restricted free agents, which includes running back Terrance West. Unless another team reaches out to West with an offer sheet, than he will play for Baltimore under a $1.797 salary in ’17.
Bringing in running backs over the age of 30 is always a risky move, but in 2015 Woodhead put up 1,091 yards from scrimmage, which is a career high. By the time the season rolls around, he will be fully recovered from his ACL surgery looking to contribute. He will split reps with Dixon and West, but with Dixon’s suspension, Woodhead’s role at the beginning of the season will be big.
At the State of the Ravens press conference, the Ravens’ brass talked a lot about adding more weapons for Joe Flacco. Woodhead is a weapon in more ways than one, and can also be a leader for Baltimore’s otherwise young backfield.
The Ravens may not be done with adding running backs, and if they plan on using a fullback in 2017 they will need to find one of those as well. No one expected the Ravens to go after Woodhead, but he is a nice addition to this offense that is looking for play-makers.