The Ravens worked quickly to find a potential pass-rushing replacement for outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, agreeing Tuesday to a one-year deal with veteran Jason Babin, according to NFL sources.
Babin, an 11-year veteran with 62.5 career sacks and two Pro Bowl selections on his resume, worked out for team officials Tuesday in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Ravens are preparing this week to play the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. The Ravens finalized the deal, which is for the veteran minimum, after the workout.
Shaun Phillips, another veteran pass rusher, also worked out for the team, but the Ravens chose to sign Babin, who had two sacks in part-time duty with the New York Jets last season. He could start practicing with the team as early as today when the Ravens accelerate preparations for the Raiders. How quickly he picks up the defense could determine whether he debuts Sunday.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh acknowledged Monday that the team was considering internal and external options to replace Suggs, who tore his left Achilles tendon late in Sunday's 19-13 loss to the Denver Broncos. Suggs will be placed on injured reserve and miss the rest of the season.
The Ravens are likely to move Elvis Dumervil into Suggs' rush linebacker role, while keeping Courtney Upshaw on the strong side. Rookie fourth-round pick Za'Darius Smith, who was inactive for the Broncos game, is expected to have an increased role behind Dumervil and Suggs.
Harbaugh acknowledged that special teams standout Albert McClellan, who has played mostly on the inside the past couple of years, will get opportunities on the outside.
"We still believe that we have pass rushers that can get the job done, but we're still in the process of evaluating our options personnel-wise," Harbaugh said Monday.
Babin started four games last season for the Jets, but the Ravens are looking for him to be a situational pass rusher, not an every-down player. According to Pro Football Focus, Babin had 27 quarterback hurries and seven quarterback hits while playing 470 snaps for the Jets last season. The website had him graded as the ninth-best 3-4 outside linebacker in the league last year.
Still, the Jets released him this month, a move that saved them $1.5 million against the salary cap.
Known for playing with speed and intensity, Babin, a first-round pick by the Houston Texans in 2004, is entering his 12th NFL season.