The Baltimore Ravens have made the first of their 2022 offseason moves by re-signing eight players to Reserve/Future contracts on January 10, per the NFL’s official transaction report.
Two-way lineman Kahil McKenzie was among the signings after making five appearances for the Ravens this season. He arrived in Baltimore as a defensive tackle, but the Ravens took advantage of his previous experience as an offensive guard to cross-train McKenzie to play on both sides of the line.
McKenzie earned a solid 71.0 overall defensive grade from Pro Football Focus in his 41 snaps with the Ravens defense this year. While he wasn’t outstanding in 2021, his two-way versatility and a desire to get younger in the trenches could earn McKenzie a shot at the 53-man roster next season.
The Ravens only have Justin Madubuike, Broderick Washington and Derek Wolfe as confirmed returners to the defensive line, with All-Pro Calais Campbell considering retirement. Undrafted rookie Xavier Kelly missed the 2021 season after tearing his Achilles tendon during OTAs in May, likely making him McKenzie’s main competition to make the Ravens’ roster next season, along with any 2022 rookie linemen.
Jones-Smith appeared in three games in 2021 after arriving in Baltimore in September with All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley sidelined for a second season in a row. Murray signed with the Ravens in December as illnesses, both COVID and non-COVID, swept through the team, though he did not play in a single game in Baltimore.
Ravens Re-Sign 3 Pass-Catchers
The Ravens also signed wide receivers Jaylon Moore and Binjimen Victor, who spent the 2021 season on Baltimore’s practice squad. Both players could have a shot to make the roster, with veteran wideout Sammy Watkins set to hit free agency in March.
The Ravens could also cut 2019 third-round pick Miles Boykin to save $965,000 against their 2022 salary cap, per Spotrac, as the former Notre Dame wide receiver has disappointed in the NFL. Boykin has been one of the league’s best run blockers at the position, but a persistent inability to get open has limited his ability to contribute to Baltimore’s offense. However, he has been a core special teamer, playing 63% of the Ravens’ special team snaps in Boykin’s eight appearances this season.
Moore and Victor both flashed some potential during training camp and the preseason in 2021, but there’s still a logjam of receivers ahead of them in Baltimore.
Tight end Tony Poljan was also re-signed, as he could replace another salary cap casualty in Josh Oliver. The Ravens could save just over $1 million by releasing Oliver, per Spotrac, and Oliver’s struggles as both a blocker and receiver may give Poljan a shot at earning a 2022 roster spot.
Ravens Hold Onto Secondary Reinforcements
Jackson appeared in five games for the Ravens this season, even playing the majority of Baltimore’s Week 15 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He struggled to cover Davante Adams, but the Ravens had few other players to turn to with both injuries and COVID-19 taking their toll in Baltimore.
Tolvier didn’t see the field all year, instead remaining on the practice squad for the duration of the season. But, like Jackson, Toliver is emergency depth in case of another crisis in the Ravens secondary, though the team expects to have Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters back for 2022.