According to multiple sources, the Baltimore Ravens have officially re-signed defensive lineman Jihad Ward. Ward joined the Baltimore Ravens during the 2019 season as part of the Ravens’ midseason defensive rebuild. Ward played surprisingly well for Baltimore and remained an unsung hero throughout the rest of the season.
The Athletics’ Jeff Zrebiec was the first to report that the two parties were finalizing a deal.
Ravens still getting some work done on signing their own pending free agents. Per sources, they're finalizing a deal with OLB/DE Jihad Ward who played well for them after he was picked up last year.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) March 14, 2020
The news was made official on Tuesday again by Zrebiec:
In addition to Justin Ellis, Ravens are bringing back Jihad Ward, too. Ward obviously played on the outside a lot, but the Ravens are pretty deep in their defensive interior now.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) March 17, 2020
The Ravens signed Ward in October, but before joining the Ravens, Ward had experienced a fall from grace. Ward was originally drafted in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He was traded by the Raiders to the Cowboys in 2018 but failed to make the team. He then signed with the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad. He was elevated to Indianapolis’ 53-man roster in 2018 but was placed on the injured reserve shortly after his promotion. He was cut by the Colts in October of 2019.
After going from a fairly high draft pick to being a mid-season free agent in just four years, Ward was thankful that the Ravens took a chance on him. That chance paid off for both parties, as Ward became an integral member of the defensive revitalization movement. In his 11 games for the Ravens, Ward made 7 combined tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 4 quarterback hits, 1 sack, and two fumble recoveries.
Re-signing Jihad Ward comes as part of Baltimore’s plan to retain key players in 2020. On Friday, Baltimore placed the franchise tag on edge rusher Matthew Judon, and on Saturday, re-signed wide receiver and return specialist, De’Anthony Thomas.
It also exhibits Baltimore’s strategy to create one of the league’s strongest and deepest defensive lines. The Ravens also re-signed Justin Ellis on Tuesday and already added Calais Campbell and Michael Brockers through trades and free agency. Baltimore also has Brandon Williams still on the roster.