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Baltimore Ravens

Ravens part ways with starting ILB L.J. Fort, saving $2.3 million in cap space

The Ravens declined the 2021 option on starting inside linebacker L.J. Fort’s contract Wednesday, a cost-cutting move that saved them $2.3 million in salary cap space.

Fort, 31, would have counted $3 million against the salary cap in 2021, the last year of a two-year, $5.5 million contract extension signed in November 2019. With his departure, the Ravens took on $750,000 in dead money.

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Fort had 53 tackles (two for loss) in 14 games (eight starts) last season and graded out as the Ravens’ best inside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. He allowed a passer rating of 106.9 in coverage and finished with just three quarterback pressures, according to Pro-Football-Reference, but he was one of the Ravens’ most reliable tacklers and a dependable run defender.

Fort played 35.7% of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in 2020, a distant second behind rookie Patrick Queen (80.3%) at the position, and was fifth in special teams snaps (62.5%). Over 26 games (16 starts) in Baltimore, Fort posted 88 tackles (six for loss), two sacks and a defensive touchdown.

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The Ravens on Tuesday agreed to a one-year extension with inside linebacker Chris Board, a restricted free agent who emerged late last season and also contributes heavily on special teams. The deal is reportedly worth $1.6 million in guaranteed money, with another $1 million possible in incentives. Queen and fellow rookie Malik Harrison are also set to return, and the Ravens have tendered exclusive-rights free agent Kristian Welch. Otaro Alaka is coming off consecutive season-ending injuries but has impressed in training camp.

According to the NFL, the Ravens are not eligible for draft pick compensation if he decides to sign elsewhere. In January, the team also waived running back Mark Ingram II a year before his three-year deal expired.


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