Ravens RB Rejected 3 Teams to Stay in Baltimore: Report

Melvin Gordon III

A veteran running back had offers from three NFL teams, but opted to stay with the Baltimore Ravens.

Melvin Gordon III wanted to stay with the Baltimore Ravens, even if it meant settling for a place on the practice squad. The veteran running back had interest from three other teams, according to the Schultz Report, including the Miami Dolphins, but opted to stay at M&T Bank Stadium.

Miami, the Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts all reached out after Gordon was released on Tuesday, August 29, before he re-signed to the practice squad a day later, Jordan Schultz tweeted on August 30.

Retaining Gordon is something of a coup for the Ravens because he gives them a proven commodity at a position otherwise beset by uncertainty and concerns about durability.

Pro Bowler’s Return a Boost for Backfield

J.K. Dobbins should be the lead workhorse, but the 24-year-old had been unhappy with his contract status this offseason. Dobbins is also just shy of two years removed from tearing his ACL, an injury that cost him all of the 2021 season.

To make matters worse, backups Gus Edwards and Justice Hill also missed significant time after similar setbacks. Edwards didn’t play a down in ’21 after also tearing his ACL, while Hill missed the campaign thanks to an Achilles tear.

In total, the three lead backs in Baltimore’s backfield rotation have combined for a mere 32 appearances and just 12 starts in the last two years. It’s more than a calculated gamble for the Ravens to rely on this trio in 2023.

The risk is compounded because undrafted free agent Keaton Mitchell has yet to play a down of meaningful action in the NFL. There are high hopes for Mitchell, but Gordon offers a more established presence, one with two Pro Bowls on his CV.

Gordon’s bounced around since being released by the Denver Broncos in November 2022, spending some time on the practice squad for the Kansas City Chiefs. The 30-year-old still offers some breakaway potential, though, along with a nose for the end zone.

He showcased both of those qualities on this 47-yard touchdown run for the Broncos against the Chiefs to cap the 2021 regular season.

Stashing a back with 55 rushing touchdowns to his credit is a smart ploy by the Ravens. Gordon could be counted on to step in and produce if injuries strike again. He could also be a useful mentor to Mitchell.

Rookie Free Agent One to Watch

Outplaying undrafted status isn’t easy, but Mitchell has qualities the Ravens can use on the ground. Specifically, he’s fast, elusive and offers genuine big-play potential.

Mitchell’s best qualities have been described by CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso, who named the 21-year-old an under-the-radar rookie to watch: “At East Carolina, the tiny runner was seemingly impossible to corral on the first attempt, and importantly at his size, tested like an NFL-caliber back with 4.37 speed and a 38-inch vertical. Lesser competition be damned — in college, Mitchell averaged 6.5 yards per tote, including a ridiculous 7.2 in his final season for the Pirates.”

Mitchell transferred those same attributes into preseason action with the Ravens. One of his best plays was this 31-yard scamper against the Washington Commanders, highlighted by Kris Rhim of The Baltimore Banner.

Being able to bounce plays to the outside and leave defenders trailing makes Mitchell almost unique among the Ravens’ backs. Dobbins can turn on the jets, but he’s most effective between the tackles, an area where natural power back Edwards also shines.

Putting Mitchell on the 53-man roster, while also housing Gordon on the practice squad ensures the Ravens remain loaded in the backfield. This season’s offense promises to be more expansive with new coordinator Todd Monken calling plays for quarterback Lamar Jackson and a revamped fleet of wide receivers led by Odell Beckham Jr.

Yet, the Ravens still have the numbers to continue dominating on the ground.

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