The Baltimore Ravens announced Friday that they have re-signed inside linebacker Jameel McClain to a three-year deal, according to Aaron Wilson of The Carroll County Times.
McClain, 27, was an unrestricted free agent and visited the Denver Broncos last week, but left the Mile High City without signing a contract. McClain was the Ravens’ second-leading tackler last season, recording 84 tackles in 16 games.
After losing starters Jarret Johnson and Cory Redding in free agency, resigning McClain became a top priority for the Ravens. Had McClain signed elsewhere, the Ravens would have lost three starters from last year’s defense, which would have meant three new defensive starters in the Ravens’ front-seven.
As it stands now, the Ravens will have just two defensive starters to replace.
McClain’s return is an important one, because with inside linebacker Ray Lewis set to turn 37 in May, McClain now figures to be the odds-on favorite to replace Lewis as the team’s defensive signal-caller whenever Lewis decides to call it quits. The undrafted free agent out of Syracuse University got a taste of what that was like last season when Lewis was forced to miss four games due to a right turf toe injury. The Ravens went 4-0 in Lewis’ absence.
Before reaching an agreement with McClain, the Ravens made two other additions in free agency Friday, signing special-teams players Corey Graham and Brendon Ayanbadejo.