Ravens re-sign Pernell McPhee to one-year deal, bolstering depth at outside linebacker

Tribune Content Agency

BALTIMORE — The Ravens have re-signed outside linebacker Pernell McPhee to a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday, bolstering their depth at a position of need with a well-respected, if injury-hampered, veteran.

McPhee, 31, had a strong season last year in his return to Baltimore. But after recording three sacks and six quarterback hits in six starts — only Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon had more sacks through mid-October — he tore his triceps in the Week 7 win over the Seattle Seahawks, ending his season.

The 6-foot-3, 265-pound McPhee is the second edge rusher the Ravens have re-signed this offseason, after Jihad Ward. Because McPhee signed after the NFL draft, he will not affect the team’s compensatory-pick formula.

McPhee’s return gives the Ravens added depth at strong-side outside linebacker, a position Jaylon Ferguson and Ward helped handle after McPhee went down. Ferguson, a third-round pick in 2019, had 2 1/2 sacks over the Ravens’ final nine games, while Ward had one in his seven games with the team.

The Ravens also have placed the franchise tag on Judon, and Tyus Bowser is returning for his fourth year after an improved 2019. After not drafting any outside linebackers last month, however, only Ferguson is signed beyond this season.

McPhee started his career with the Ravens as a fifth-round pick in 2011 and had a career-high 7 1/2 sacks in 2014, the final year of his rookie deal. But he struggled to stay healthy in stops with the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins, as knee issues limited him to a combined 14 sacks from 2015 to 2018. Since leaving Baltimore, he’s yet to play a full 16-game season.

But McPhee remains a strong run defender and a beloved locker room presence, two traits that general manager Eric DeCosta and coach John Harbaugh value.

“He’s a no-nonsense, tells-it-like-it-is guy, and we appreciate that, and our guys do,” Harbaugh said during training camp last August. “Our young guys need that. He’s a guy who’s been around, and he knows what it takes. It’s not all sunshine and daisies out there, and McPhee reminds them of that.”

In a training camp interview, McPhee told The Baltimore Sun that he wouldn’t take the 2019 season for granted. Now he’s set to return to a roster where the outside expectations will match those of the team.

“Everybody’s mentality isn’t the same when you go to other places,” he said in August, reflecting on his 2015 move to Chicago. “Here, the only expectation is to win a championship, whether you do or don’t. Everywhere else you go, they don’t even talk about winning a championship.”


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