Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and safety Anthony Levine Sr., who both won Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens on February 3, 2013, headlined the veteran cuts on Tuesday, which also included defensive tackle Justin ‘Jelly’ Ellis, tight end Eric Tomlinson and defensive end Chris Smith.
Four of the five veterans released were defensive players, highlighting the Ravens’ depth on that side of the ball, with younger defenders like Ar’Darius Washington and Jaylon Ferguson making the roster.
With a few injured players, like Jimmy Smith and Rashod Bateman, still making the 53-man roster, the Ravens still have a few personnel moves to make before their regular season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders on September 13.
McPhee Most Likely to Re-Sign With Ravens
If the Ravens open up a roster spot in the next two weeks, either through a trade or an injured-reserve placement, McPhee is the leading candidate to re-sign in Baltimore.
McPhee was drafted by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, recording 6.0 sacks as a rookie before making a huge impact in the Ravens’ Super Bowl run the following season.
He forced turnovers in consecutive playoff games, strip-sacking recent Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning in the AFC Divisional Round and tipping a pass from then-New England Patriot Tom Brady during the AFC Championship.
McPhee recorded 7.5 sacks during his last year in Baltimore, earning him a five-year deal with the Chicago Bears, where his tenure was cut short by injuries.
He made his way back to Baltimore in 2019 on a one-year deal, but tore his triceps against the Seattle Seahawks in October, ending his season. McPhee re-upped with the Ravens for another year, emerging as a key run defender against Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry in the playoffs.
Levine, Tomlinson Could Also Return to Team
Levine, nicknamed ‘Co-Cap’ for his longtime veteran leadership in the Ravens’ locker room, could be re-signed if the team places Jimmy Smith on short-term injured reserve. But with ten other defensive backs on the roster, the team may opt to bring back a different veteran. Levine is likely to stay on the Ravens’ practice squad as an instantly-ready contributor if the Ravens need depth in the secondary.
Eric Tomlinson could return to the Ravens on a short-term basis, with tight end Nick Boyle still working his way back from last season’s knee injury. The veteran filled in for Boyle last year, and could find himself in the same role if Boyle misses time at the beginning of the regular season.
Justin Ellis and Chris Smith are also candidates to join the practice squad following their release.
Ellis played 34% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps last season, so if the Ravens face injuries on the defensive line like they did last season, ‘Jelly’ is a reliable plug-and-play option after two season in defensive coordinator Don ‘Wink’ Martindale’s defense.
Smith played well in the preseason, recording 1.5 sacks, but ultimately couldn’t win a roster spot over the Ravens’ other edge rushers.