Ravens claim CB Trayvon Mullen off waivers, adding QB Lamar Jackson’s cousin to roster

Published on: January 23, 2023 6:26 PM EST

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The Ravens need to build cornerback depth this offseason. They also need to strike a deal with quarterback Lamar Jackson.

By claiming Trayvon Mullen off waivers Monday, the Ravens might’ve helped themselves with both goals, if only slightly.

Mullen is a cousin of Jackson’s and fellow native of Broward County, Florida, who swapped jerseys with the pending free agent after facing off in the 2021 season opener. The Dallas Cowboys released Mullen on Saturday ahead of their NFC divisional-round playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers. The fourth-year cornerback played in just one game for Dallas after being claimed off waivers in mid-December, making three tackles in a Week 18 loss to the Washington Commanders.

The 6-foot-2 Mullen was a second-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2019 after earning defensive Most Valuable Player honors in Clemson’s College Football Playoff national title game. But he struggled over his three seasons with Oakland (and later Las Vegas). Foot and toe injuries limited him to five games in 2021, after which the Raiders traded him to the Arizona Cardinals.

Mullen appeared in eight games for Arizona this past season, playing just 124 defensive snaps and giving up a passer rating of 146.2 in coverage, according to Pro Football Reference, before being released for the first time. According to the NFL, Mullen won’t be awarded to the Ravens until Feb. 13, the NFL’s first business day after the Super Bowl. He’s also set to be an unrestricted free agent in March.

The Ravens have invested in players close to Jackson since he established himself as a starter, with varying levels of commitment. In 2019, they signed Louisville wide receiver Jaylen Smith, one of Jackson’s top targets in college, as an undrafted free agent. In 2020, they drafted Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, another Broward County native and former youth football rival, in the first round. Last year, they signed Graceland (NAIA) wide receiver Donte Sylencieux, a high school teammate of Jackson’s, as an undrafted free agent.

Smith and Sylencieux were both released during roster cut-downs, and Brown was traded before the 2022 season. General manager Eric DeCosta said Thursday that the team’s relationship with Jackson is “fantastic” but noted that it can be a challenge to negotiate with someone who represents himself.

“It’s not always going to be an easy conversation had, but that doesn’t affect our feelings for each other or [coach] John [Harbaugh]’s feelings for Lamar or the organization’s feelings for Lamar every single day, his teammates,” DeCosta said. “We all understand this is a business transaction.”

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