Facing the possibility of substantial turnover in the special-teams department, the Ravens re-signed Jordan Richards to a one-year deal on Thursday.
The veteran defensive back signed with Baltimore in late October and appeared in nine games, finishing with five special-teams tackles. In the regular-season finale against Pittsburgh, he recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown on a punt play. He played just one defensive snap with the Ravens last season.
Richards, 27, was a healthy inactive for the playoff loss against Tennessee and set to become an unrestricted free agent, but special-teams standouts and fellow veteran defensive backs Anthony Levine and Brynden Trawick are also scheduled to hit the open market next month. In addition to special-teams duties, the former New England Patriot and Atlanta Falcon will now try to earn a situational defensive role after making 17 starts over the two seasons prior to 2019. The 2015 second-round pick out of Stanford has collected 95 tackles, six pass breakups, and two forced fumbles in 68 career games.
According to Football Outsiders, the Ravens finished 10th in special-teams efficiency in 2019, but they were just 24th in weighted efficiency, reflecting their late-season struggles in punt and kick coverage and the lack of bite to their return game. Levine and Trawick aren’t the only core special-teams players scheduled to hit the market next month as reserve wide receiver Chris Moore is at the end of his rookie contract and return specialist De’Anthony Thomas will also be a free agent.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound Richards is the second role player to ink a one-year extension over the last week after the Ravens re-signed reserve offensive tackle Andre Smith last Thursday. Baltimore signed starting safety Chuck Clark to a three-year extension through the 2023 season on Monday, but his increased responsibilities on defense may mean a diminished role on special teams moving forward.