On Thursday morning, the Baltimore Ravens announced the signing of defensive back Jordan Richards. Baltimore had two open roster spots after putting Pernell McPhee on the injured reserve, and cutting Justin Bethel to recoup a 2020 fourth-round compensatory pick. Bethel, who is considered to be among the league’s best special teams players, signed with New England after leaving Baltimore. Baltimore, in turn, signed Jordan Richards, the former Patriots second-round pick.
In 2015 the New England Patriots selected Richards in the second round of the NFL Draft as a safety. Richards, the former Stanford defensive back impressed Patriots head coach Bill Belichek, who thought he could use him in his secondary. Richards did not live up to expectations, however, and after just three seasons in New England, he was traded to the Atlanta Falcons in 2018. Richards played the entire 2018 season with the Falcons and became a free agent after the year.
After his stint with the Falcons, Richards signed with the Oakland Raiders for the 2019 season on a one year deal but was cut at the end of the preseason. Richards was re-signed to the Patriots in early October of 2019. Richards was cut to make room for Bethel on the Patriots 53-man roster.
Many expected that the Ravens would add a pass rusher, but instead, Baltimore attacks the secondary with this move. The Ravens lost safeties Tony Jefferson and DeShon Elliot for the year, so adding another safety makes sense.
The Ravens defense looked drastically improved in Sunday’s win over the Seahawks, but adding a pass rusher should still be a top priority. Baltimore’s pass rush has been extremely ineffective this season, and the loss of Pernell McPhee only complicates that matter.
There are still rumors flying around that the Ravens could trade for Jaguars edge rusher, Yannick Ngakoue. None of these rumors, however, have been confirmed, but the trade would make sense. Ngakoue is at the tail end of his rookie deal, fits the Ravens’ salary cap, and would require minimal payment to acquire. It has yet to be seen, though, whether the Jaguars will trade him.
One roster spot remains open.