Latest On Ravens-Don Martindale Split

Don Martindale is surprisingly on the market for defensive coordinator-needy teams. Some outside interest already emerged before the Ravens moved on from their four-year defensive play-caller.

After signing a three-year extension in 2020, Martindale was set to go into a contract year. The Ravens did not offer him another extension to avoid lame-duck status, according to Albert Breer of, who adds other teams noticed this and checked on Martindale’s status. The Ravens’ defensive step back in 2021 contributed to the team passing on an extension offer (Twitter link).

The Ravens have promoted from within to fill their DC position every time the franchise has filled the job. Since Marvin Lewis‘ 2003 departure to become the Bengals’ HC, Mike Nolan, Rex Ryan, Greg Mattison, Chuck Pagano and Dean Pees climbed from within to fill the post. Martindale followed suit in 2018, rising from the team’s linebackers coach position. It is not a lock that will continue, though the external candidates on Baltimore’s radar have experience working under Martindale.

Mike Macdonald left the Ravens to become Michigan’s co-defensive coordinator last year, but Baltimore’s former linebackers coach was viewed as the likely Martindale successor before doing so, Jamison Hensley of notes. Macdonald spent seven seasons on John Harbaugh‘s staff. Presumptive one-and-done Jaguars DC Joe Cullen, who was the Ravens’ D-line coach for five seasons before following Urban Meyer to Jacksonville, looms as another possible candidate. Internally, defensive passing-game coordinator Chris Hewitt is a surefire candidate, per Aaron Wilson of the Pro Football Network (on Twitter). Hewitt has been with the Ravens since 2012, when he took over as the team’s defensive backs coach.

Despite the Ravens’ injury-catalyzed regression on defense this season, Martindale figures to generate extensive outside interest. The 58-year-old assistant had Baltimore perched as a top-10 defense from 2018-20.

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