Posted in NFL News

Baltimore Ravens (Finally!) Ink Justin Houston

By: Ashley Anderson

Good morning, and happy Saturday, Ravens fans! This is not a drill. I repeat this is not a drill! Justin Houston is on his way to Baltimore.

After being linked to the Ravens since the start of free agency, Adam Schefter reported this morning that veteran edge rusher Justin Houston has agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal. This is the news we have all been waiting for, as pass rush seemed to be the only area of glaring weakness on the roster. Schefter also noted that Houston took significantly less money than he was offered from other clubs due to his preference to play for the purple and black.

Immediate Impact

Although the Ravens repeatedly stated they felt good about the guys they had, Houston represents at least a moderate upgrade. Tyus Bowser recently re-signed with Baltimore on a four-year, $22 million deal, but he is more of a coverage linebacker than a pass rusher. His versatility is extremely useful, but he only has 10.5 career sacks. Wily veteran Pernell McPhee is much the same, with a career high 7.5 sacks coming back in 2014 during his first stint in Baltimore.

Beyond them, the Ravens were counting on a breakout from third-year man Jaylon Ferguson. Although he holds the FBS record for sacks, he has yet to emerge in the NFL. Baltimore also drafted Odafe Oweh and Daelin Hayes to bolster the unit. Unfortunately, relying on rookies can be dangerous. Oweh has all the talent and athleticism in the world yet failed to record a sack in 2020. Hayes, although he has flashed in practice, lasted till the fifth round for a reason.

Bottom line, the Ravens pass rush group was a mix of versatile, talented guys, but not one of them is known for being a sack artist. That is where Houston makes a difference.

Career Stats

Justin Houston was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played in all 16 games his rookie season, starting ten, and recorded 5.5 sacks. His best season came in 2014 when he racked up an astonishing 22 QB takedowns with the Chiefs.

Twice in his career, including recently in 2019, Houston recorded 11 sacks in a season. His lowest output came in 2016 when he was limited to five games and had just one sack. However, Houston has been fairly healthy for the most part, and the Ravens are hoping that using him as part of a rotation will keep his tank full this year.

A four-time Pro Bowler and 2014 All-Pro selection, Houston is looking to win a Super Bowl before he calls it a career. He may have been considering a return to Kansas City, recently teasing fans by working out in a Chiefs helmet. However, he ultimately decided on Baltimore.

Low Risk, High Reward

For the Ravens, this scenario could not be more perfect. Houston’s deal only carries a base salary of $1.075 million with a signing bonus of $1 million. To get to the possible $4 million total, Houston will have to hit other incentives.

If Houston does indeed hit those incentives, it can only be good news for Baltimore. That means he is doing his job by recording sacks and reaching the Pro Bowl. If not, the team saves money, and they are not on the hook heading into 2022.

Given the fact that Houston will turn 33 during the season, Baltimore was wise to limit the deal to a single season. That way, if he falls off in production, they can let him walk without a financial burden. If he plays great, they will have the option to try to re-sign him during the year, or let him test the open market and attempt to keep him in free agency.

Final Thoughts

It was a rough week for Ravens fans seeing Gus Edwards and Lamar Jackson land on the Covid-19 list. Many of us were looking for good news, and it was finally delivered to us this morning.

NEXT POST: Baltimore Ravens: Looking at offensive line depth

Houston could be the missing piece to win a Super Bowl, which is the ultimate goal every year. After what feels like an eternity, it is finally Houston to Baltimore!


Ashley is a sports fanatic to the core. Her grandmother introduced her to football as a little girl, and she's been hooked ever since. Fueled by massive amounts of caffeine and a passion for writing, Ashley showcases her fiery views on teams, players, and match-ups. Whether it's fantasy football advice or in-depth game analysis, Ashley has you covered like a lockdown cornerback.

One thought on “Baltimore Ravens (Finally!) Ink Justin Houston

Leave a Reply