Former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Anthony Averett has become the latest of the Ravens’ pending free agents to leave Baltimore, signing a deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, according to an Instagram post from Averett’s agency.
As indicated by the graphic, the contract is for one year, with Jeff Howe of The Athletic reporting that Averett will earn $4.5 million from the deal. He’ll likely be a third cornerback behind 2021 rookie surprise Nate Hobbs and the recently-acquired Rock Ya-Sin, who was traded from the Indianapolis Colts for ex-Raven Yannick Ngakoue, per Heavy’s Dave Holcomb.
It’s the latest move in what has become an arms race in the AFC West, with the Raiders trying to keep up with the massive additions made by the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, who themselves are trying to topple the Kansas City Chiefs from the divisional throne.
Averett was generally expected to leave Baltimore in free agency, though a reunion hadn’t been ruled out. But with two All-Pro cornerbacks already in Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey, the Ravens opted to bring in a star safety by signing Marcus Williams to a five-year, $70 million deal.
That will free up 2021 third-rounder Brandon Stephens to play more cornerback after starting 11 games at safety in his rookie year.
Ravens Left Thin At Cornerback
But behind Peters, Humphrey and Stephens, the Ravens are extremely thin at cornerback after releasing Tavon Young on March 9. Only depth players like Robert Jackson and Kevon Seymour remain, which will likely force the Ravens to make an addition at the position this offseason.
2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore headlines the remaining free agent cornerbacks, with other veterans like Kyle Fuller and A.J. Bouye. Gilmore is likely too expensive for the Ravens, but Fuller or Bouye could sign a cheap one-year deal in Baltimore if they don’t draw any early interest in free agency.
A reunion with Young isn’t out of the question, either. The Ravens stood by their 2016 fourth-round pick through multiple season-ending injuries, and he repaid them with a full season in 2021. Though his $9.1 million cap hit in 2022 had to be cleared to make room to sign Williams, Morgan Moses and Michael Pierce, Young could be re-signed with a portion of the $5.8 million the Ravens freed up with his release.
Baltimore has also been projected to use their 2022 first-round pick on a cornerback, with LSU’s Derek Stingley Jr. and Cincinnati’s Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner at the top of the list.
Will Chris Westry Return to Baltimore?
Another cornerback to watch is Chris Westry, who started two games for the Ravens and appeared in four others in 2021. After a promising preseason, he was expected to step up in Marcus Peters’ absence before struggling with multiple injuries of his own.
Baltimore declined to place a restricted free agent tender on Westry, which would have committed at least $2.4 million to the 24-year-old cornerback in 2022, per OverTheCap. If the 24-year-old gets an offer from another team, the Ravens won’t have to right to match it, but with fewer than 200 career snaps on defense, Westry may not draw that much interest around the league.
The Ravens may then swoop in to sign Westry for another year with the hopes that he can stay healthy and use his massive 6-foot-4 frame to full effect on opposing receivers in Baltimore.