Ravens face shrinking running back market, lose free agents Stone, Edwards, Duvernay, Darby, Simpson

OWINGS MILLS — It’s been a challenging start for the Ravens and a frantic opening of NFL free agency.

While players can’t officially sign with new teams until the new league year opens on Wednesday at 4 p.m., the legal tampering period began on Monday at noon.

The Ravens are in the market for a running back but several of the top free agents already agreed to terms with other teams.

  • Saquon Barkley signed a three-year, $37.75 million deal with the Philadelphia Eagles
  • D’Andre Swift agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with the Chicago Bears
  • Tony Pollard reached a three-year, $24 million agreement with the Tennessee Titans
  • Josh Jacobs signed a four-year, $48 million contract with the Green Bay Packers
  • Austin Ekeleri inked a one-year, $4.82 million deal with Washington

Several other blue-chip free agents are available, including Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, and Zack Moss. However, the Ravens might have to move quickly because the market is off to such a rapid start.

In addition, the Ravens lost a number of free agents who played key roles last season.

Safety Geno Stone, who finished second in the NFL with seven interceptions, signed with division rival Cincinnati. The deal is reportedly worth $15 million over two years. Stone was behind Kyle Hamilton and Marcus Williams on the Ravens’ depth chart, and he will be a starter in Cincinnati.

“Geno might be the best seventh-round pick that we’ve ever had – playmaker, attitude, special teams,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “[He had] just an excellent season [in 2023]. He has been cut, been brought back … I love his cerebral nature, [and] I love his attitude on the field. He fancies himself an overachiever; I love that about him. He’s put himself in an awesome position.”

Running back Gus Edwards is headed to coach Jim Harbaugh’s Los Angeles Chargers on a two-year deal, $6.5 million deal. Edwards will be reunited with Greg Roman, who was his offensive coordinator in Baltimore from 2019 to 2022. Edwards had his most productive seasons as a pro, running for 1,867 yards and 11 touchdowns over 41 games, under Roman, who was hired by Jim Harbaugh as the offensive coordinator in Los Angeles.

All-Pro returner and wide receiver Devin Duvernay signed a two-year, $8.5 million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Duvernay was a 2020 third-round pick by the Ravens. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2021 and 2022. Tylan Wallace will likely take over Duvernay’s role as the Ravens’ primary returner.

“In looking at it, you know you just can’t keep every single player on your team,” DeCosta said. “That’s a frustrating aspect of this job.”

Cornerback Ronald Darby leaves the Ravens for a two-year, $10 million deal with Jacksonville. With Marlon Humphrey battling various injuries, Darby played a key role in the Ravens’ secondary and was lauded by coach John Harbaugh for his performance. He played in all 17 regular-season games with eight starts, finishing with 25 tackles, one quarterback hit, and five passes defensed.

Left guard John Simpson signed a two-year deal reportedly worth up to $18 million with the New York Jets. His eight sacks allowed was the second most on the Ravens, but he played a team-high 1,159 snaps. Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu is behind Simpson on the Ravens’ depth chart.

They did re-sign inside linebacker Malik Harrison to a one-year deal. Financial terms have not been released. Harrison appeared in 14 games with eight starts, finishing with 17 tackles and one quarterback hit last season. He also provides valuable depth at inside linebacker and complements the Ravens’ aggressive style of play.

The Ravens still have plenty of work ahead to fill the gaps on their roster, and it appears they will have to move quickly.

This story has been updated

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