Ravens sign LB L.J. Fort to two-year, $5.5M extension


The curious case of L.J. Fort has reached a new high.

The Baltimore Ravens on Friday announced they've signed the journeyman linebacker to a two-year contract extension through 2021.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Fort's extension will pay him $5.5 million, with $3.25 million fully guaranteed at signing.

Fort joined the Ravens in the middle of the season and has started at linebacker in three of his four appearances in purple and black. In that small sample size, he's recorded 14 tackles, 1.0 sack and one pass defended.

Fort's tale is intriguing because of how much he's had to travel to earn this payday. Fort entered the league with the Cleveland Browns in 2012 as an undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa, then appeared in one game for the Seattle Seahawks in 2013 before spending the next four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He crossed the state of Pennsylvania during the most recent offseason, leaving Pittsburgh for the Philadelphia Eagles, who only kept him for four regular-season games before cutting him.

Fort signed with the Ravens at the end of September, meaning he'd only need to join the Cincinnati Bengals to complete the AFC North circuit before his career ended. That won't happen anytime soon, if ever, because Fort's achievement in short time has earned him sizeable compensation that he can stack on top of another lump sum of guarantees coming his way this season.

That's perhaps the most interesting part of Fort's journey: The linebacker is still owed $1.9 million in guarantees this season after getting cut by the Eagles, Rapoport reported. He's earned the combined compensation ahead in his month with Baltimore as part of a Ravens defense that was in need of linebacking talent after watching C.J. Mosley leave in free agency and sending Kenny Young to Los Angeles in a midseason trade for cornerback Marcus Peters.

Fort has helped fill Baltimore's depth need at the position and is being rewarded accordingly.