Ravens keep special teamer Moore, but lose linebacker Bynes to Cincinnati

March 24, 2020 | Luke Jones

The Ravens continued an offseason pattern of re-signing their own Tuesday while also losing an important part of their 2019 in-season resurgence on defense.

Soon after re-signing special-teams standout and wide receiver Chris Moore to a one-year deal, Baltimore lost starting inside linebacker Josh Bynes. The Ravens had been interested in keeping Bynes, but the 30-year-old agreed to a one-year deal with Cincinnati.

With the inside linebacker position in disarray after the opening month of the 2019 season, general manager Eric DeCosta signed Bynes, who had spent the first three years of his career with the Ravens and made the final tackle in the Super Bowl XLVII win over San Francisco. The veteran immediately stepped into the starting lineup in Week 5 and led all Baltimore inside linebackers in snaps for the rest of the season, finishing seventh on the team with 46 tackles and collecting two interceptions, one sack, and four pass breakups. Pro Football Focus graded Bynes sixth among all qualified linebackers last season as he excelled playing the run and allowed a 47.4 opponent passer rating in coverage, according to Pro Football Reference.

With Bynes now out of the picture, the Ravens are even more likely to target an inside linebacker early in next month’s draft with LSU’s Patrick Queen and Oklahoma’s Kenneth Murray being two potential options for the 28th overall pick. Veteran L.J. Fort and unproven young options Chris Board and Otaro Alaka are the only inside linebackers currently under contract for Baltimore, but weak-side inside linebacker Patrick Onwuasor remains on the free-agent market after an uneven 2019 campaign.

Moore, 26, registered a career-low three receptions for 21 yards in 14 games last season, but the 2016 fourth-round pick from Cincinnati remained one of the Ravens’ best special-teams players, serving as a gunner on the punt team and occasionally returning kickoffs. In four seasons, Moore has made 47 catches for 511 yards and four touchdowns.

The Ravens have now re-signed eight of their own free agents since the end of the 2019 season, a list also including cornerback Jimmy Smith, defensive back Anthony Levine, edge defender Jihad Ward, defensive tackle Justin Ellis, return specialist and wide receiver De’Anthony Thomas, defensive back Jordan Richards, and offensive tackle Andre Smith. Baltimore also placed the franchise tag on Pro Bowl outside linebacker Matthew Judon and tendered restricted free-agent center Matt Skura earlier this month.