Ravens Claim Ex-Bills Linebacker Off Waivers From Jets

Ravens Del'Shawn Phillips

Getty Former New York Jets linebacker Del'Shawn Phillips makes a tackle during a 2021 preseason game.

The Baltimore Ravens have been awarded linebacker Del’Shawn Phillips off waivers from the New York Jets, per the NFL’s official transaction report.

Phillips can play both inside and outside linebacker, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, and has a reputation as a reliable contributor on special teams, something that likely motivated the Ravens’ waiver claim.

He played 374 snaps on special teams in 2021 and finished with a 90.5 grade from Pro Football Focus for his efforts, among the top 10 special teams grades in the NFL.

While he has mostly played inside linebacker in his career, his versatility to play outside linebacker and quality experience on special teams make him a sensible, if underwhelming, waiver claim for the Ravens.

Phillips signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent in 2019 out of the University of Illinois, but did not make the team’s 53-man roster. He spent his rookie year on the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad and played two games on special teams.

Phillips then signed with the New York Jets, where he spent the 2021 season as a core special teams contributor and added 31 tackes and one sack on defense. He didn’t impress in the 2022 preseason, though, leading to his release and eventual waiver claim by the Ravens.


Phillips Could Impact Roster

Phillips’ addition to the roster could threaten the place of Ravens third-year linebacker and special teams ace Kristian Welch, who made the team’s initial 53-man roster.

The Ravens badly need more depth at outside linebacker. Though Welch moonlighted there during training camp, Phillips might be a more reliable option on the edge who can replicate Welch’s contributions on special teams.

It’s unlikely that the Ravens would move on from undrafted rookie Josh Ross in favor of Phillips, though. Ross was extremely impressive during the preseason and seemed to have his spot secure, according to Jim Harbaugh, Ross’ coach at Michigan and brother of Ravens head coach John Harbaugh.

Phillips still isn’t the ideal answer for the Ravens’ outside linebacker shortage, so don’t rule out another move like re-signing veteran Steven Means or pursuing ex-Arizona Cardinal Devon Kennard.


No Ravens Claimed Off Waivers

The NFL’s transaction report also showed that none of the players waived by the Ravens on Tuesday were claimed by other NFL teams, leaving them free to return to Baltimore via the practice squad.

The Ravens already began adding some of those players, per Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic. including undrafted rookie receiver Raleigh Webb who caught a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals on August 21. 

Undrafted rookie quarterback Anthony Brown will also re-sign with the Ravens as the third-string quarterback after an impressive preseason. He’ll be joined by rookie running back Tyler Badie, a surprise cut after being selected by the Ravens in the sixth-round of the 2022 draft.

The Ravens will continue to add to their practice squad this week, but they’ll still be on the lookout for more talent to add to their 53-man roster as well, whether it be young players that clear waivers or known veterans.

 

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