Baltimore’s first move on day two of free agency comes as an internal roster maneuver. According to reports, the Baltimore Ravens are re-signing defensive tackle Justin Ellis to a one-year deal. The financial side of the one-year deal was not yet released at the time this article was written.
Ellis joined the Ravens as a mid-season free agent signing in 2019. Justin Ellis, aka “Jelly” was drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders. During his five years in Oakland, Ellis started 42 of 66 games. He amassed 80 solo tackles, 39 assists, six tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, a half-sack, and two pass deflections. He was cut by the Raiders in 2019 after starting the year on the injured reserve.
Ellis didn’t start a single game for Baltimore but played in four regular-season games. Ellis recorded two solo tackles and four assists for the Ravens, and also made an additional solo tackle in Baltimore’s playoff loss to Tennessee.
The move to re-sign Ellis fits Baltimore’s emerging 2020 offseason strategy, getting better at defensive line Baltimore traded for Calais Campbell on Sunday and signed Michael Brockers on Monday, and still have Brandon Williams too. Ellis will serve as a rotational/backup player along the line.
Re-signing Ellis does bring some questions into play though. The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reported that this deal was in the works for a while, but one has to think about Jihad Ward. Three days ago, Zrebiec and others reported that the Ravens were “finalizing” a deal with Ward before free agency even started. But since that point, no other information about the potential deal has been released. Did the deal actually gets done, or is Jihad Ward now being replaced by Ellis? Some Twitter friends pointed out to me that Ellis is more of a defensive end while Ward plays up the middle, but it still is strange timing to see that this deal is done while Ward’s is not. Whatever this means for Ward, if anything, Ravens fans will find it out in the coming days.