In a devastating — and almost unprecedented — turn of events, the Baltimore Ravens more than likely lost two key players to season-ending injuries on back-to-back plays, according to Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL Network.
Tests have confirmed that three-time Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters has suffered a torn ACL, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The NFL insider also noted that the team believes that running back Gus Edwards also tore his ACL at practice, which would end his 2021 campaign as well.
In response to Edwards’ injury, the Ravens wasted little time addressing the position. They quickly scooped veteran running back Devonta Freeman off the free-agent market, per Ravens.com.
The 29-year-old’s most recent game action came in 2020 as a member of the New York Giants, where he served as the team’s starter in four of his five game appearances before landing on injured reserve with an ankle injury. Prior to his injury, Freeman was beginning to carve out an extensive role in the team’s offense as Saquon Barkley’s replacement, averaging 72 yards from scrimmage on 19 touches per game over his final two healthy contests behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines.
Freeman spent a large chunk of this season’s training camp with the New Orleans Saints.
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Freeman Expected to Join Active Roster
Freeman is initially signing to the team’s practice squad. However, according to the running back’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus (via Schefter), “the idea is that Freeman will be promoted to the Ravens’ active roster.”
For now, Freeman joins fellow decorated veteran, Le’Veon Bell, on Baltimore’s practice squad — who could also soon find his way onto the 53-man roster.
“Le’Veon’s a guy I think we’re very familiar with, obviously,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We played against him so many times in so many highly-competitive, emotional games. It was fun to have him in for the workout, he had a good workout. Practiced yesterday, did a good job. We’ll have a process with him. He’s excited, he’s learning. We’ll see where it goes.”
Former UDFA Ty’Son Williams and Trenton Cannon, a player with 48 career rushing attempts, are the lone running backs on the team’s active roster. If tests confirm Baltimore’s inkling on Edwards, he’ll be the third back the Ravens have lost to season-ending injury this summer, joining JK Dobbins (ACL) and Justice Hill (Achilles).
Freeman’s Receiving Upside Gives Him a Chance
Is Freeman the player that tied for the league-lead in total touchdowns (14) in 2015? Not a chance. Is he the player that notched 13 scores the following season? Think again. However, he still offers enough dual-threat ability out of the backfield that could potentially earn him a viable spot in Baltimore’s running back rotation.
While he hasn’t averaged greater than 3.6 yards per carry since 2018, he’s just one season removed from receiving 70 targets in the passing game with the Atlanta Falcons. In fact, his 59 receptions that season were eighth-most in the NFL at his position.
In his career, Freeman has notched two Pro Bowls under his belt, amassing 6,217 yards from scrimmage. His 44 total touchdowns are the 27th-most among active NFL players currently under contract.