Michael Brockers' deal with the Baltimore Ravens fell through over an issue with his ankle, and the free-agent defensive lineman swiftly rejoined the Los Angeles Rams on a similar deal on Friday.
This represents the first major complication in the NFL's decision to proceed with free agency during the coronavirus pandemic. Brockers and the Ravens reached an agreement in principle on a three-year, $30 million deal on March 16, but Ravens doctors couldn't immediately examine him because free agents can't come to facilities to take physicals. Now, 11 days later, Brockers is back with the Rams, his agent confirmed to ESPN.
Problems were first raised after an independent doctor expressed concern over Brockers' left ankle, which he injured in the 2019 season finale. There had been optimism that the Ravens and Brockers, 29, would reach a new agreement, and Brockers' agent said he was "very confident" that the eight-year starter's deal would be finalized by the end of this week.
But after the sides failed to reach a new agreement on Friday, Brockers immediately returned to the Rams. He agreed to a three-year deal worth up to a maximum $31.5 million, the NFL Network reported.
Brockers posted about the move on social media.
Without Brockers, the Ravens have a hole on the defensive line. Brockers was added to replace free-agent defensive tackle Michael Pierce, who has since signed with the Minnesota Vikings. Baltimore also traded defensive end Chris Wormley to the Pittsburgh Steelers this week.
This isn't the first time that the Ravens have had a medical problem with a free agent. In March 2018, Baltimore voided a four-year, $29 million agreement with wide receiver Ryan Grant after he failed a physical due to an ankle injury. Grant later signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and Baltimore brought in Michael Crabtree.
In going back to the Rams, Brockers teams with defensive lineman Aaron Donald on a new-look Rams defense. This offseason, the Rams lost outside linebackers Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews, linebacker Cory Littleton, cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman and safety Eric Weddle. Plus, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips isn't returning.
Brockers, 29, has been one of the more durable defensive linemen in the league. He hasn't missed a game since October 2016, starting 57 consecutive games.
The No. 14 overall pick in 2012, Brockers was one of the longest-tenured Rams and played a key role along their defensive line. He started all 16 games last season, making a career-high 63 tackles with three sacks.
In the 2019 finale, Brockers hurt his ankle in the second half and was carted off the field. He told reporters after the game that he didn't need surgery.