The Baltimore Ravens surprised quite many of their fans as well as the analysts and reporters that closely cover the team when they opted to tender just one of their six pending restricted free agents on Wednesday, March 15, 2023.
Fourth-year backup quarterback was the only one to get tendered and it was a low right of first refusal worth just $2.627 million according to The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec.
On Thursday, March 16, they reportedly agreed to terms to bring back two of the players that weren’t tendered but played vital roles for the team the past two years. According to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, one of those key contributors coming back is safety Geno Stone.
The 23-year-old fourth-year pro confirmed that he is indeed returning to the team in a Twitter post of his own where he wrote “Locked In!! (Baltimore)”.
While the terms of the deal have yet to be revealed, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec reported that the length of the deal in for one year.
Stone played the most extensive snaps of his career to date in 2022 when he started seven games from Week 6 to 13 after veteran free safety Marcus Williams suffered a dislocated wrist in Week 5. While he wasn’t the same elite ball hawk that the Ravens’ prized free-agent addition from last season was to start the season, he still played exceptionally well and made some impressive plays during his stint as a stop-gap starter.
The team originally drafted Stone in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Iowa and in 34 career games and 8 starts, has recorded 59 total tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a pass deflection, and an interception per Pro Football Reference.
Ravens Bring Back Long Snapper on Two-Year Deal
The other former restricted free agent that they opted not to tender but were able to still bring back is starting long snapper, Nick Moore on a two-year deal. Zrebiec first reported the news and the team officially announced it a few hours later.
According to Zrebiec, the 2022 second-team All-Pro’s new deal that is going to keep him in Baltimore through the 2024 season is worth $2.5 million.
He went undrafted out of Georgia in 2019 but came into the league the same year as Stone in 2020 when he signed with the team after playing for the Tampa Bay Vipers in the second relaunch of the XFL.
Moore played just one game in 2o2o as a COVID replacement for five-time Pro Bowler Morgan Cox and in the following offseason, he permanently replaced the longtime veteran coming off a First-Team All-Pro season as the team’s full-time starter.
Even though he has yet to receive his first career Pro Bowl nod or get voted to an All-Pro team, Moore has established himself as one of the best players at his position in the league the past two seasons.
In addition to delivering consistently accurate snaps to punters Sam Koch and rookie Jordan Stout in 2022, Moore has been extremely aggressive and effective on punt coverage units as well. The converted college linebacker has recorded 8 total tackles including 6 solos in 35 career games according to Pro Football Reference. For comparison, Cox recorded just 11 total tackles including 8 solos during his 11 years with the Ravens per PFR.
Former Ravens Pro Bowl OT Signs Multi-Year Deal with Division Rival
Veteran offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is returning to the AFC North except it’s not back in Baltimore where he began his career. According to NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero, he is signing a four-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals worth $64.092 million with a $31 million signing bonus to be Joe Burrow’s new and improved blindside protector.
He spent the first three years of his career with the Ravens where he earned his first two Pro Bowl nods at right tackle and the last two with the Kansas City Chiefs where he extended his Pro Bowl streak to four in a row and won a Superbowl this past season.
Brown Jr. was originally drafted by the Ravens in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft at No. 83 overall out of Oklahoma which was just three picks ahead of three-time Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews who was his college teammate as well.
He was inserted into the starting lineup midway through his rookie season and went on to start in 42 of the 48 games he appeared in with the team. Following the 2020 season, he requested to be traded so that he could pursue his dream of playing left tackle full-time and DeCosta was able to get a haul of draft picks in return that included a first and third-rounder in 2021.
Brown Jr. was projected to be a first-round pick the year he declared for the draft after a decorated college career but a historically poor performance at the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine caused him to fall all the way to the third.
In a Twitter post following the announcement of his signing, he embedded a video of several analysts on the set of ESPN’s ‘NFL Live’ sharing some harsh criticism about his work ethic and doubting the efficacy of his professional career. He clearly took exception to their words and used them as motivation.
The Ravens will now be facing the 26-year-old upper-echelon offensive lineman they drafted and developed at least twice a year for the next four seasons with some likely playoff matchups bound to occur as well. Thankfully, they are well aware of and very familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of Brown Jr’s game and they have some explosive pass rushers at outside linebacker that can help exploit them.