The Baltimore Ravens have placed fullback Patrick Ricard on injured reserve, according to an official announcement from the team’s Twitter account, likely ending his season.
Ricard struggled with a knee injury throughout December, missing three consecutive games, all of which ended with Ravens losses. He returned against the Los Angeles Rams on January 2, playing 38 snaps on offense and four on special teams.
The former Maine Black Bear has been a crucial cog in the Ravens’ offense for the past four seasons as an excellent blocker, though he flashed his receiving skills against the Minnesota Vikings earlier this season. Ricard has the second-highest Pro Football Focus grade of any offensive player in Baltimore, behind tight end and fellow 2022 Pro Bowl starter Mark Andrews.
Ricard’s 75.2 overall PFF grade also ranks first among all fullbacks this season, anchored by an 88.3 run blocking grade that is the best of any fullback or tight end in the NFL.
But with the Ravens’ playoff hopes hanging on by a thread, Baltimore opted to put Ricard on injured reserve to open up a roster spot for their regular season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers on January 9. Ricard would be eligible to return during the postseason, should the Ravens make it that far. But Baltimore has just a 0.3% chance of making the third round of the playoffs, with only a 3.3% chance of reaching the playoffs at all, per ESPN’s Football Power Index, meaning that Ricard has likely played his last football for the Ravens this season.
Ricard A Free Agent in 2022
It’s possible that Ricard’s appearance vs. the Rams was his last game as a Raven, as his contract is set to expire after the conclusion of the 2022 season.
Ricard joined the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2017, earning less than $1 million across his first two years in Baltimore, per Spotrac, while also playing both offense and defense. But after the Ravens adopted a run-heavy scheme with the ascension of Lamar Jackson to the starting quarterback job, Ricard’s powerful blocking became a featured element of the offense, ultimately netting him more than $8 million from 2019-2021.
The Ravens certainly don’t underestimate Ricard’s importance in their offense, but they’ve been reluctant to pay fullbacks in the past. Baltimore selected six-time Pro Bowler Kyle Juscyzk in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, but allowed him to bolt to the San Francisco 49ers in free agency after his rookie contract expired.
The Ravens also drafted ex-Michigan fullback Ben Mason in the 2021 NFL Draft, but he opted to join the New England Patriots’ practice squad after not making Baltimore’s 53-man roster. Mason is now a free agent, so the Ravens could potentially re-sign him in the offseason as Ricard’s successor.
Ravens Place Boyle on COVID-19 List
While Ricard’s placement on injured reserve already ruled him out of the Ravens’ upcoming matchup with the Steelers, Boyle’s placement on the COVID-19 list will likely sideline him in Week 18 as well.
The Ravens were hit hard by the coronavirus in recent weeks, especially before matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers, but they appeared to turn a corner after activating tight end Josh Oliver on January 4, per the NFL’s official transaction report.
Now, Baltimore will be hoping that tight end Mark Andrews is unaffected, as he sits just 140 receiving yards away from setting the NFL’s single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end.