The Ravens have signed defensive lineman Jihad Ward, who was released recently by the Indianapolis Colts. Ward takes the roster spot of safety Tony Jefferson, who was placed on injured reserve after suffering a major knee injury in the Ravens' 26-23 win at Pittsburgh Oct. 6.
Ward, 25, was a second-round draft pick by the Oakland Raiders out of Illinois in 2016. He played two seasons for the Raiders, making 13 starts as a rookie, before being traded to the Dallas Cowboys in the spring of 2018.
Ward, though, didn't make the Cowboys out of training camp and was subsequently signed to the Colts' practice squad. He was promoted to the active roster a few weeks later but played just six games before ending the 2018 season on injured reserve. Ward played three games for the Colts this season before being released.
He had a career-best 30 tackles and 10 quarterback hits as a rookie, and had three sacks in six games last year with the Colts.
The Ravens are searching for answers on a defense that ranks 21st overall and 29th against the pass. In the past two weeks, the Ravens have signed three free agents on defense (Ward and inside linebackers Josh Bynes and L.J. Fort), promoted defensive end Zach Sieler from the practice squad and released outside linebacker Tim Williams.
Ward (6-foot-5, 287 pounds) joins a unit that is led by interior linemen Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce and defensive end Chris Wormley, along with two-way player Patrick Ricard.
The Ravens players are off Oct. 8, so Ward will practice with his new team for the first time Oct. 9 as the Ravens (3-2) ramp up preparations for a visit from the winless Cincinnati Bengals Oct. 13.