The Baltimore Ravens had a busy day in the first day of the NFL free agency season. The Ravens signed safety Tony Jefferson, running back Danny Woodhead, and resigned backup quarterback Ryan Mallet. The Ravens also picked up the option for wide receiver Mike Wallace.
Jefferson is by far the most important signing. Jefferson is a top tier safety in the prime of his career. The Ravens signed him to a four-year $36 million contract. Jefferson turned down an offer from the Browns that was reportedly a lot more money. The Ravens will have a great safety duo with Jefferson and Eric Weddle for years to come.
Danny Woodhead is a jack of all trades kind of running back who is coming off an injury. Woodhead is reportedly fully healthy and ready to go. Woodhead is a great pass catching running back that will add depth. Kenneth Dixon will be suspended for the first four games of the 2017 season so having Woodhead is a plus.
Mallet is a solid backup quarterback for Joe Flacco.
The Ravens still have a lot of work to do and a draft to fill out their roster. The Ravens are close to signing Brandon Williams which is very important.
Here is the Ravens press release.
RAVENS FREE AGENT AGREEMENTS
The Baltimore Ravens have agreed in principle to contracts with free agents S Tony Jefferson (four years) and RB Danny Woodhead (three years), general manager/executive vice president Ozzie Newsome announced Thursday. Baltimore also agreed in principle to re-sign QB Ryan Mallett to a one-year contract.
All deals are pending the passing of a physical.
Additionally, the Ravens picked up the contract option for WR Mike Wallace to return to the team in 2017.
S Tony Jefferson
Entering his fifth NFL season, Jefferson had spent his entire career with the Arizona Cardinals, seeing action in 63 games (31 starts). The 25-year-old has posted 260 tackles (211 solo), 20 tackles for loss, five sacks, two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 11 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries during his career.
Last season, Jefferson appeared in 15 games (14 starts), recording a team-high 92 tackles (74 solo), two sacks, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. A premier run-stopping safety, Jefferson’s 13 tackles for loss led all NFL defensive backs in 2016. (Landon Collins was next with nine.) In addition, the 13 tackles for loss rank as the NFL’s most by a defensive back in a single season since the stat began being tracked in 2008.
Jefferson appeared in all 16 games for Arizona in each of his first three seasons (2013-15), with the only contest he missed during his Cardinals career coming in the 2016 finale after he was placed on Injured Reserve (knee).
The 5-11, 212-pounder was originally signed by the Cardinals as a 2013 undrafted rookie free agent out of Oklahoma.
RB Danny Woodhead
Since Woodhead entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with the New York Jets in 2009, he is one of four players (Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte and Darren Sproles) to produce at least 15 rushing touchdowns and 15 receiving touchdowns. (Woodhead has 15 rushing and 17 receiving scores in his career.)
The 5-8, 200-pounder enters his ninth NFL season after playing in 93 career games for three different teams (San Diego: 2013-16, New England: 2010-12 and the Jets: 2009-10). Compiling 4,680 yards from scrimmage during his career, he has tallied 2,182 rushing yards (on 503 attempts) and 2,498 receiving yards (on 267 receptions).
In 2016 with San Diego, Woodhead sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 2 and was subsequently placed on Injured Reserve.
During the 2015 campaign, however, when he played in all 16 games for the Chargers, Woodhead produced career highs in yards from scrimmage (1,091) and total touchdowns (nine). That season, he led the NFL in receptions (80, tied, Theo Riddick), receiving yards (755) and receiving touchdowns (six) by a running back.
In 2013, among NFL running backs, Woodhead ranked second in each of the following categories: receiving touchdowns (six), receptions (76) and receiving yards (605).
His best rushing season occurred in 2010, when he gained 547 yards and five touchdowns on 97 rushing attempts (5.6 avg.) while playing for the Jets (one game) and New England (14 games).
Additionally, Woodhead has returned 35 kickoffs for 758 yards (21.7 avg.), most recently serving in that capacity with San Diego during the 2013 campaign (12 returns for 262 yards – 21.8 avg.).
QB Ryan Mallett
Mallett, who is entering his seventh NFL season, originally joined the Ravens in 2015. He has previously spent time with the Houston Texans (2014-15) and New England Patriots (2011-13). In 19 career games (eight starts), Mallett has completed 181 of 329 passes for 1,779 yards, seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Last season, while subbing late in games for QB Joe Flacco, Mallett appeared in four contests, completing three of six passes for 26 yards.
In 2015, Mallett recorded single-season career highs in all passing categories with 244 attempts, 136 completions, 1,336 passing yards and five touchdowns. He led the Ravens to a 20-17 victory in Week 16 against Pittsburgh in his Baltimore debut, just 12 days after joining the team.
“I have enjoyed my time in Baltimore over the past two years,” Mallett stated. “I’m excited to get back to work with my teammates and coaches to help us compete for an AFC North championship.”