On Saturday March 23 some of the NFL’s most exemplary players gathered in Baltimore for the 41st annual Ed Block Courage Awards. Among the recipients in attendance was Ravens offensive lineman Marshal Yanda.
Every year the Ed Block Courage Awards recognize the players around the league who show bravery and determination in the face of adversity while also representing core values of the game like sportsmanship and professionalism.
The Ravens made their first big splash in free agency on Wednesday afternoon by signing veteran safety Earl Thomas to a four-year deal worth $55 million.
As usual, the free agency period opened this week with many flashy signings and trades. For Baltimore, the first few hours of free agency were all about departures as the Ravens saw C.J. Mosley, Za’Darius Smith, and John Brown all walk away for bigger contracts with other teams. All three of these losses were somewhat expected for different reasons, but it still left the Ravens depleted on day one with their work cut out for them.
On Monday the Baltimore Ravens signed Albert McClellan to help fill out the teams depth chart at the linebacker position. The move comes just a few weeks after the Ravens released McClellan in their final 53-man roster cuts. However, with C.J. Mosley going down with a knee bone bruise in Thursday’s loss to Cincinnati, the team only had three healthy middle linebackers left on the depth chart.
When looking at the free agent market for this position, the 32-year-old McClellan was an easy choice for the Ravens due to his prior history with the team. McClellan originally joined the Ravens in 2010 as an undrafted rookie and quickly became a standout player on special teams. The middle linebacker also started 23 games on defense in his initial seven-year stint with the Ravens.
To make room for McClellan on the 53-man roster the Ravens have moved Maurice Canady to injured reserve with a hamstring injury. Canady was drafted by Baltimore in 2016 but has struggled with injuries since entering the NFL. This is the third straight year where Canady has landed on injured reserve and the second time for a hamstring injury.
While you can’t replace the talent of a player like Mosley mid-season, fans can be more comfortable with the depth at middle linebacker moving forward. On the other hand, the cornerback core is now on the ropes with Stanley Jean-Baptiste out for the year and Jimmy Smith still two weeks away from returning. It will be interesting to see if the Ravens try to replace Canady now or just hope they can make it through these next two games without significant injuries.
Image credit: Rob Carr / Getty Images