After calculated gamble, team re-signs Forsett
Two days after he was released amid the Ravens’ roster juggling, Justin Forsett re-signed with the team Monday. The veteran running back, who was the highest-profile cut as the Ravens trimmed their roster to 53 over the weekend, will practice today and be in line to play Sunday in the team’s regular-season opener against the Buffalo Bills at M&T Bank Stadium.
Terms on Forsett’s new deal weren’t immediately known. To accommodate the return of Forsett and wide receiver-kick returner Devin Hester, who signed a one-year deal Sunday, the Ravens placed both defensive tackle Carl Davis (ankle) and safety Matt Elam (knee) on injured reserve.
The moves, including Forsett’s initial release, were orchestrated by the Ravens to alleviate the team’s roster crunch and allow for the possibility of either Davis’ or Elam’s returning to the active roster later this season.
There was risk involved because Forsett immediately became a free agent — as a vested veteran, he didn’t need to clear waivers — and he could have signed with anybody after the Ravens terminated his contract. However, both sides seemed to understand the situation and made it work.
In removing him from the roster when they did and holding off from officially signing Hester, the Ravens were able to keep both Davis and Elam on the 53-man roster through 4 p.m. Sunday. Under league rules, the Ravens are allowed to bring one IR player back to the active roster, but that player had to still have been on the active roster through 4 p.m. Sunday. Thus, wide receivers Michael Campanaro (River Hill) and Chris Matthews, who were placed on IR on Saturday, are not eligible to come back to the active roster Justin Forsett will practice today and is expected to play in Sunday’s opener. this season, and Elam and Davis, whose IR trip was delayed 24 hours, are eligible.
The juggling reflects the Ravens’ effort to maneuver their roster and keep as much depth as possible. What’s not yet clear is whether Forsett had any alterations to his previous contract as a result of the move. He was entering the second season of a three-year, $9 million deal.
Forsett had some fun with the situation on his Twitter account, writing “the plot thickens” after his release. When reports surfaced Monday that he was re-signing with the Ravens, Forsett insisted no decision had been made. After both he and the team confirmed he had indeed signed a new deal, Forsett wrote, “Man I tell you ... this book I’m going to write next offseason about my journey is going to be epic!”
With the addition of Hester and the return of Forsett, the Ravens have an accomplished return man on the roster and three healthy running backs. Forsett will join Terrance West (Towson University, Northwestern High) and Buck Allen in the backfield. Rookie fourth-round pick Kenneth Dixon, who had a strong preseason, is expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks with a torn MCL in his left knee.