Free-agent inside linebacker Patrick Onwausor, the Ravens’ second-leading tackler over the past three years, has agreed to sign with the New York Jets, according to the NFL Network.
Onwuasor’s expected departure reunites him with C.J. Mosley and leaves the Ravens rail-thin at inside linebacker, a position they will seek to fortify through the NFL draft next month. L.J. Fort, a midseason acquisition last year, is the team’s top returning player there, ahead of the inexperienced Chris Board and Otaro Alaka. Josh Bynes, a seven-game starter last season, reportedly signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.
The 6-foot, 227-pound Onwuasor, an All-American safety at Football Championship Subdivision School Portland State, transitioned to linebacker in Baltimore after going undrafted in 2016. “Peanut,” as he’s known, found a home on special teams — finishing third on the Ravens in total snaps as a rookie — and then on the starting defense.
Over the next three seasons, Onwuasor appeared in all but two of the Ravens’ 48 games, starting 31. His 213 tackles since 2017 are second most on the team in that span, behind only Mosley, who signed with the Jets last offseason.
After taking over for Mosley as the defensive signal-caller, Onwuasor, 27, had an uneven 2019. His struggles in coverage and against the run led the Ravens to sign Bynes and Fort, and after playing 284 defensive snaps over the first five games, Onwuasor got just 190 over the next nine. He finished the season rated the No. 73 linebacker by Pro Football Focus.
With his speed, Onwuasor’s greatest strength is his blitzing ability. In 2018, when he had 5½ sacks, Onwuasor averaged one every 11.5 pass-rush snaps, according to PFF. Last season, he had another three sacks, though at a lower rate.