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Baltimore Ravens

Ravens re-signing LB L.J. Fort to one-year deal, reuniting after brief split

The Ravens have agreed to terms with L.J. Fort, the team announced Thursday, bringing back a veteran starter at inside linebacker and special teams contributor on a one-year deal.

The deal comes two weeks after the Ravens declined the 2021 option on Fort’s contract, a cost-cutting move that saved them $2.3 million in salary cap space. Terms of his new deal were not disclosed.

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“Can’t wait to get back to action,” Fort tweeted, “this time with a packed house!”

Fort, 31, had 53 tackles (two for a loss) in 14 games, made eight starts last season and returned a fumble for a touchdown while grading out as the Ravens’ best inside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. One of the defense’s most reliable tacklers and a solid run defender, he had a limited impact in coverage and as a pass rusher. Fort allowed a passer rating of 106.9 and finished with just three quarterback pressures, according to Pro-Football-Reference.

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Rookie Patrick Queen led all inside linebackers in playing time in 2020, but Fort was second, playing over 40% of the defensive snaps in eight games and 35.7% overall despite missing two games. He was also fifth in special teams snaps.

Fort’s return crowds a depth chart teeming with inexperienced young players. Queen and Malik Harrison are expected to step up in their second seasons in Baltimore, and the Ravens have tendered exclusive-rights free agent Kristian Welch. The team last month agreed to a one-year extension with Chris Board, who came on strong late last season and remains a top contributor on special teams. And Otaro Alaka has been sidelined with injuries since his 2019 arrival but has contributed when healthy.


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