Grading the Ravens' re-signing of OLB Justin Houston

Kevin Oestreicher
Ravens Wire

The Baltimore Ravens have multiple players at the outside linebacker position dealing with injuries that could impact their availability in 2022. Both Tyus Bowser and David Ojabo tore their Achilles, with Bowser’s coming in January while Ojabo’s happened in March.

While Baltimore waits for those two to return from their ailments, they didn’t have much depth to work with. Second-year players Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes are expected to play big roles, but other than that their outside linebackers consisted of prove it-type veterans and undrafted free agents.

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However, the Ravens re-signed veteran Justin Houston on Thursday, adding an experienced veteran back to the position.

Ravens outside linebacker Justin Houston reacts after sacking Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert in the second half.

Houston spent the 2021 season with the Ravens, totaling 34 tackles and 4.5 sacks. Still, it’s what he did beyond the box score that made the biggest impact. Houston was around the ball, provided pressure, and most of all was a leader in the locker room for young players such as Oweh.

His nickname quickly became “Yoda” upon arriving to Baltimore, as he was passing off wisdom left and right to his teammates.

The Ravens placed an unrestricted free agent tender on Houston, which increased the likelihood that he would return to Baltimore. The 11-year veteran seemed to enjoy his time with the Ravens, which was one of the reasons why a reunion between the two sides seemed likely.

Throughout his NFL career, Houston has accumulated 485 total tackles, 102 sacks, 18 forced fumbles and 14 fumble recoveries. Aside from Baltimore he’s had stops with the Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts, establishing himself as one of the best pass rushers in the league during his prime.

Houston is still an extremely productive player, even at the age of 33. He should be able to make a positive impact on the field in 2022, and could certainly increase his box score stats in the process. His signing is a low-risk, high-reward one, and it has the potential to pay off in a big way for the Ravens.

Grade: A