The Baltimore Ravens did eventually come to terms with Derek Wolfe to add to their defensive line, pairing with the also newly-acquired Calais Campbell, had for a fifth-round pick via trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars. But he was their second choice, after a three-year, $30 million contract agreed to with Los Angeles Rams lineman Michael Brockers had fallen through.
The seven-year veteran was fully expecting to leave in free agency this offseason, and it looked as though he had after agreeing in principle to a deal with the Ravens. However, days went by during which the team never announced the contract, meaning that it had not yet been completed. He had not taken a physical—could not, through the team, since travel was restricted—and ultimately, Baltimore reneged.
The Rams eventually ponied up to keep Brockers, whom they originally drafted in the first round back in 2012, a year after nabbing Aaron Donald. Said the almost-Raven “Ultimately, I guess they kind of just took their contract back”, noting that they “just worried about the past injuries and what the ankle looked like on the MRI”. He had suffered an ankle injury in the season finale.
Brockers was one of at least four contracts that ultimately were not completed, another being a contract between Eli Apple and the Las Vegas Raiders. Deals for Darqueze Dennard and Marqui Christian that had been reported have also fallen through. This was over a week ago—perhaps others have also met the same fate since then, due to the unusual nature of the offseason.
In the Ravens’ case, however, it is hardly atypical. Two years ago, for example, they had agreed to terms on a contract with free agent wide receiver Ryan Grant, but they ultimately failed him on his physical, nullifying the deal. This also just so happened to be after they also signed Michael Crabtree, who had suddenly become available.
Baltimore’s physicals tend to be more stringent than others. They waive a good number of players with failed physical designations in comparison to other teams, so it’s not particularly surprising that their name would be front and center in this discussion.
That said, you can’t blame them, given the circumstances. The Rams would know a lot more about Brockers’ ankle injury than Baltimore could possibly know, and currently the Ravens can’t learn much of anything since they can’t examine the player themselves.
“The contract that they did offer, it was kind of, it was a lot of insecurity”, Brockers said. “I wasn’t secure in the contract. So when the opportunity arose and the opportunity to go to the Rams came back, it was like heaven”.
While his perspective is understandable, it is the reality all free agents who are recovering from injuries must face this offseason. Potential employers would like to know as much as they can about your health before they hire you, so that comes with some uncertainty.