Ravens Sign Versatile 26-Year-Old Former 3rd-Rounder as Insurance

Cardinals OT Josh Jones celebrates with teammates after touchdown against Rams.

Getty Cardinals OT Josh Jones celebrates with teammates after touchdown against Rams.

The Baltimore Ravens have lost pieces along their offensive line throughout free agency and were beginning to look thin at the position. However, on Thursday, March 21, general manager Eric DeCosta began to address the concern with the signing of OL Josh Jones.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport posted on his account, “The #Ravens have signed former #AZCardinals OT Josh Jones, adding some OT depth.”

Jones comes over from the Houston Texans and Arizona Cardinals on a 1-year deal that will give him a chance to rebuild his value.

After losing guard Kevin Zeitler to the Detroit Lions, guard John Simpson to the New York Jets and trading OT Morgan Moses to the Jets, the Ravens had lost three of their five starting linemen.

Only OT Ronnie Stanley and center Tyler Linderbaum remained from the starting group. Sarah Ellison, co-host of “The Vault: A Daily Ravens Podcast,” posted on her account, “He has played at both tackle positions and RG. Brings versatility and experience and is also entering his prime years. A depth player that still allows the Ravens to look to the draft to bolster the offensive line.”

The signing now gives DeCosta some wiggle room to not reach or feel pressured for the remainder of free agency or when the draft rolls around.

Josh Jones Has Not Panned out as Planned so Far

Jones was drafted by the Cardinals in the third round of the 2020 NFL draft and was a highly respected prospect.

Kevin Oestreicher, host of the podcast “Locked on Ravens,” posted, “Coming out of college, Josh Jones was lauded for his athleticism and his ability to get out of his stance quickly, pull effectively, and bend.”

The Houston product has not developed into a star but has provided stability when called upon in different situations.

Jones played very little during his rookie year but during his sophomore season he started at the guard position and played 73% of snaps and started 12 games. He moved to the left tackle position in 2022 but his playing time dropped to 52%.

The Cardinals traded him to the Texans in 2023 right before the start of the season for a 5th round pick. Jones started three games for the Texans but only played 26% of the offensive snaps.

Jones will only be 27 years old when the 2024 season kicks off and could still develop into a starting lineman. As of right now, he provides valuable depth and versatility that can be used across the line, which gives coach John Harbaugh more options.

Josh Jones Provides Depth and Versatility to Baltimore

The position group for offensive lineman was beginning to look a little thin for the Ravens. Besides Stanley and Linderbaum, Patrick Mekari was the only other lineman that played significant snaps for the Ravens in 2023.

The Ravens have high hopes for OL Andrew Vorhees who will be returning from an ACL injury, but he will for all purposes be playing his first season.

Adding Jones to the team gives the Ravens a veteran plug-and-play lineman in case of injury or poor form. The Ravens were rotating Mekari, Moses and Stanley towards the end of the season to keep them fresh, so Jones gives them another option.

Oestreicher wrote, “He’s still only 26 and versatile, and while he’s struggled at points, is solid OL depth for the Ravens.”

Stanley has dealt with injury concerns since he signed his massive contract with the Ravens, so bringing in a player that could fill in during a sticky situation gives Baltimore flexibility.

The Ravens will look to the draft, with their 9 picks, to improve the group further but won’t feel forced into reaching. Ellison explained, “A depth player that still allows the Ravens to look to the draft to bolster the offensive line.”

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