The Baltimore Ravens have addressed a need at edge rusher with a savvy and inexpensive veteran addition. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Ravens have signed veteran Justin Houston to a one-year deal worth up to $4 million with a base salary of $1.075 million. The additional incentives in Houston's contract are based on making the Pro Bowl and number of sacks, per the Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.
Despite spending a first-round pick on Penn State edge rusher Odafe Oweh and a fifth-round pick on Notre Dame edge rusher Daelin Hayes, Baltimore was still in need of a proven pass rusher to join the young group after losing Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, and Jihad Ward in free agency. Houston is a perfect fit for what the Ravens needed at the outside linebacker position on defense. The 32-year-old will join the aforementioned rookies Oweh and Hayes as well as veteran Pernell McPhee, recently re-signed and versatile Tyus Bowser, and third-year third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson. The signing of Houston could now put a player like Ferguson who has underperformed his first two seasons on the roster bubble.
Houston was originally drafted out of Georgia by the Kansas City Chiefs with the No. 70 overall pick in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Houston spent the first eight seasons of his illustrious career with the Chiefs where he finished with 78.5 sacks. Following the 2018 season, Kansas City attempted to trade Houston but was unable to find any willing partners and ended up releasing him on March 10, 2019. He then signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts on March 21, 2019. Houston spent his next two seasons with the Colts, finishing with 19 sacks.
After Indianapolis did not re-sign him, Houston hit the open market once again in 2021. As Schefter pointed out, Houston turned down "significantly more money" from other teams in order to "pursue a championship" with the Ravens. According to ESPN's Jason La Canfora, Houston turned down a "more lucrative package" from another team in the AFC North.
La Canfora previously reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers were interested in acquiring Houston, but ultimately signed fellow veteran edge rusher Melvin Ingram to a five-year deal that will automatically void after this upcoming season, essentially making it a one-year, $4 million deal.
Houston's career has been filled with various accolades, including making First-Team All-Pro in 2014, four Pro Bowls, winning the Deacon Jones Award in 2014 for leading the league in sacks, and the Ed Block Courage Award in 2016.
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