Ravens Reunite With Veteran Ex-Falcons Linebacker After Recent Injuries

Ravens Brandon Copeland

Getty Former Patriots linebacker Brandon Copeland smiles during a November 2020 game.

The Baltimore Ravens have signed veteran linebacker Brandon Copeland to their practice squad, the team announced on Wednesday, bringing much-needed depth to the position after two recent injuries.

Veteran outside linebacker Steven Means will miss the rest of the 2022 season with a torn Achilles suffered in Week 2, and undrafted rookie inside linebacker Josh Ross landed on injured reserve with a foot injury of his own.

Copeland is a Maryland native who began his NFL career as an undrafted free agent in Baltimore, though he did not make the Ravens’ 53-man roster as a rookie in 2013.

Copeland has mostly been an outside linebacker during his six-year career, though he has some experience at defensive end and inside linebacker. He’s played for four NFL teams – the Detroit Lions, the New York Jets, the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots – and briefly spent time on the Tennessee Titans practice squad.

He appeared in 16 games for the Falcons in 2021 with three starts, though he has not recorded a sack since 2019.

What Will Copeland Bring to Baltimore?

The 31-year-old linebacker does not project to be a major addition to the Ravens’ pass-rush, with just 7.0 career sacks, 5.0 of which came in 2018 for the Jets. That was his only season with more than seven quarterback pressures, per Pro Football Focus, and his 38 pressures in 2018 still only yielded a 56.2 pass rushing grade. Copeland hasn’t otherwise eclipsed that grade in his career aside from a stretch in 2019 and 2020 in which he played fewer than 25 snaps.

He does bring extensive special teams experience, a common trait for many Ravens depth signings. Copeland has 1,441 special teams snaps under his belt and has been a core special teams contributor on every stop along his NFL journey.

With Baltimore’s current injury situation, Copeland could be active for the Ravens’ Week 3 matchup against the Patriots on Sunday if he learns the defense quick enough.

Ravens Could Pursue Other LBs

Linebacker depth was clearly the priority for the Ravens this week, with the team exploring multiple additions at the position.

Baltimore hosted veterans Jason Pierre-Paul and Blake Martinez for visits on Tuesday, though neither appeared as an official signing on the NFL’s official transaction report at day’s end.

According to Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun, Pierre-Paul is not the Ravens’ preferred addition, but they were unable to complete a trade for other edge-rushers.

That could explain why Pierre-Paul left the Ravens’ facility without a deal, per USA Today’s Josina Anderson.

I worked out for them this morning. Everything went good,” Pierre-Paul told Anderson on Tuesday evening. “The interest is mutual, so we’ll see how the business side goes; but a couple other teams reached out as well.”

With just $5.4 million in cap space, per OverTheCap, and the potential for other additions via trade or free agency this year, the Ravens won’t want to get caught in a bidding war for Pierre-Paul’s services. His last deal netted him $25 million over two years, and though there are concerns about his age and injury history, the veteran’s pedigree could price him out of Baltimore.

The Ravens could also be waiting for other teams to become sellers before the Week 8 trade deadline so that general manager Eric DeCosta can attempt to pull off a blockbuster bringing reinforcements to Baltimore.

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