Ravens, DL Justin Madubuike Discussing Extension

Justin Madubuike enjoyed a breakout season in 2023, boosting his free agent stock considerably. He is not expected to reach the open market given the option of a franchise tag, but the ascending Ravens D-lineman could still be retained on a long-term deal.

When speaking at the NFL Combine on Tuesday, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta confirmed that discussions have taken place on a new deal for Madubuike. While he later acknowledged that the franchise tag will all-but assuredly be used if no traction is gained in the near future, the team’s clear preference is an agreement providing more financial flexibility.

“We’re trying to get a deal done,” DeCosta said, via ESPN’s Jamison Hensley“We’ve had discussions with Justin. He’s the guy that obviously has put himself in a fortuitous position this year, by the way that he played. Had a great season for us. He’s a valued player on the team and we’re hopeful that we can get a long-term deal done.”

Madubuike saw incremental growth in terms of year-over-year production during his first three seasons in the league. His continued development took on a decidedly different level in 2023, however, as he recorded 13 sacks and 33 QB hits. The 26-year-old earned his first career Pro Bowl invite, as well as a second-team All-Pro nod. He therefore projects as the Ravens’ top priority in terms of in-house players in need of being retained.

Last offseason saw a surge in the price of up-and-coming defensive linemen. The quartet of Quinnen WilliamsJeffery Simmons, Daron Payne and Dexter Lawrence each landed extensions worth between $22.5MM and $24MM per season. Madubuike could be in line to secure a similar value on his next contract if one can be worked out on either side of the tag deadline (March 5). The one-year tender would cost $22.1MM, and absorbing that cap hit at once would hinder Baltimore’s other efforts in free agency.

Of course, the tag could wind up serving as a stop-gap to allow more time on the negotiation front. Tagged players can work out a new deal as late as mid-July, but if DeCosta has his way, Madubuike will already be on the books for 2024 and beyond by that point.

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