Gamesmanship Ahead of Ravens/Patriots Clash

Todd Karpovich

Shortly after the Baltimore Ravens released Justin Bethel to save a potential fourth-round compensatory pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the special teams ace was picked up by the New England Patriots. 

To make room for Bethel, New England released Jordan Richards, who was then signed by Baltimore.

Who has the next move in this chess match?

It's hard to determine how much intel either player will be able to provide to their new teams. But it's still some gamesmanship by the two franchises.

Richards, a second-round pick from Stanford in the 2015 NFL Draft, spent his first three seasons in New England and made seven starts in 41 games. He was traded to the Atlanta Falcons where he spent the 2018 season. Richards was signed by the Oakland Raiders before being released prior to the regular-season opener. He then resigned with New England.

The Ravens had a roster spot because linebacker Pernell McPhee was placed on injured reserve earlier this week.

Bethel, a three-time Pro-Bowl selection, led the Ravens with six tackles on special teams. However, the Titans forced Baltimore GM Eric DeCosta to make a move when Tennessee cut former Ravens defensive end Brent Urban over the weekend. That roster decision nullified the fourth-round compensatory pick the Ravens acquired for losing wide receiver John Brown during free agency.

By cutting Bethel prior to Week 10, the compensatory pick formula allows the Ravens to recoup the compensatory pick they lost when Urban was cut.

The Ravens will rely heavily on Richards, Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort to fill the void for the loss of Bethel.