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Ravens will place Devin Duvernay on Injured Reserve and sign Malik Cunningham from Patriots’ Practice Squad

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The Patriots have regularly passed quarterbacks through waivers to their practice squad this season, but they will bid farewell to one of those arms. Rather than sign Malik Cunningham to their active roster once again, the Pats will let him head elsewhere.

Cunningham will trek to Baltimore; the Ravens are signing the rookie UDFA to their 53-man roster, ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. This will mark a reunion for Cunningham and Lamar Jackson. Despite the superstar QB being in his sixth NFL season, he and Cunningham were teammates at Louisville in 2017. Cunningham, who was at the ACC school for six years, redshirted during the ’17 slate.

As the Ravens add a quarterback, they will lose a wide receiver. Devin Duvernay sustained a back injury in Week 14, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports the former All-Pro return man will head to IR. Though, Rapoport adds the fourth-year wideout will not require surgery and is expected to be ready to return in the playoffs. Duvernay will be eligible for activation to start Baltimore’s playoff journey, whenever that point comes. But he is done for the regular season.

Emerging as an intriguing gadget-type player during the preseason in New England, Cunningham did not make the Pats’ 53-man roster out of training camp. The team took a chance on exposing Cunningham to waivers on cutdown day, waiving both he and Bailey Zappe. Cunningham indeed passed through waivers and stayed in Foxborough on the Pats’ practice squad.

Cunningham will join a Ravens team that has used a Jackson-Tyler Huntley QB depth chart for the past three seasons. The team now has four QBs on its active roster, with journeyman extraordinaire Josh Johnson still with the team. This could point to a versatile role for Cunningham, for whom the Patriots had designed special packages this season. Even as the Pats moved from Mac Jones to Zappe and designed a package of plays for Cunningham recently, the athletic rookie has played only six regular-season snaps — all against the Raiders in Week 6.

This move will ensure Cunningham stays on Baltimore’s active roster for at least three weeks, though Schefter adds it could be a play for next season as well. Given an original-round RFA tender this offseason, Huntley will be a UFA in 2024. Cunningham, 25, can be kept through the 2026 season before he hits unrestricted free agency. Though, it remains to be seen if the ex-Louisville star will pan out as a QB2 option.

A thinner Ravens wide receiver depth chart last year required regular Duvernay contributions, but Baltimore reloaded at the position this offseason. The team signed Nelson Agholor and Odell Beckham Jr. and drafted Zay Flowers in Round 1. With Rashod Bateman recovering from his 2022 foot injury, the Ravens have a solid top four at receiver. Tylan Wallace also became a memorable fill-in for Duvernay at punt returner, notching only the fourth overtime punt-return walk-off in NFL history.

While Duvernay caught 37 passes for a career-high 407 yards last season, he exited Week 14 with just four grabs for 18 yards. The former third-round pick had operated as Baltimore’s primary kick- and punt-return option this season. Duvernay, who is set for free agency in 2024, also finished last season on IR (due to a foot injury).

Additionally, the Ravens will use one of their IR activations on cornerback Damarion Williams, The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec notes. The 2022 fourth-rounder played in 14 games as a backup last season but suffered an ankle injury this summer. The Ravens had expected Williams back around October. Regardless of the delay, the Houston alum will be in position to contribute. Williams will fill Mark Andrews‘ roster spot. The Ravens now have four IR activations remaining.

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