OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Justin Houston visited the Ravens this week and left without a deal.
That could be a risky scenario for the team.
Houston has other suitors as a free agent and other franchises will now have an opportunity to make their pitch to the talented edge rusher. For expample, the Colts have an interest in re-signing him.
The Ravens are likely looking toward the first Monday following the NFL draft (May 3) before they sign any more players. Any unrestricted free agents the team signs after that date don’t count against the compensatory pick formula.
Few teams value those comp picks more than the Ravens because it helps the franchise walk a delicate balance of winning in the short-term while building a solid foundation for the future.
The Ravens have a need for an edge rusher after losing several players this offseason.
Matt Judon, who led the team with six sacks last season, signed a new deal with the Patriots as a free agent. Yannick Ngakoue signed with the Raiders after finishing with eight overall, but only three in nine games for Baltimore. Jihad Ward, who signed with the Jaguars, managed three sacks last season.
Houston is the type of player that could thrive with the Ravens. He's a durable, aggressive pass rusher that could help fill the void left by those recent departures that could hamper the pass rush.
Houston is still available on the free-agent market, but his former team, the Indianapolis Colts, could still make a run at re-signing him.
Houston turned 32 in January, so his age could be a concern among other suitors.
Last season, Houston was second on the Colts with eight sacks and 12 quarterback hits over 16 games. He also finished with 25 tackles (eight for a loss), one forced fumble, two fumbles recovered and two safeties.
The question now is whether he'll be available if the Ravens decide to make him an offer.