Ravens Did Not Attempt To Retain LB Patrick Queen

As expected, a number of free agents have departed the Ravens this offseason. Last year’s top seed in the AFC faced the prospect of losing a number of starters, and linebacker Patrick Queen was among those who quickly found a new home on the open market.

The 2023 Pro Bowler signed with the division-rival Steelers on a three-year deal which was agreed to on the second day of the negotiating period. Queen’s pact carries an annual average value of $13.67MM, the fifth-highest figure in the league amongst inside linebackers. After 2024, though, the deal is essentially set up as a year-to-year agreement, marking a surprising lack of long-term security for the second-team All-Pro.

Especially against that backdrop, it is also noteworthy the Ravens remained consigned to the idea of Queen leaving on the open market. Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes Baltimore “made no effort this offseason” to retain the 24-year-old (subscription required). The team had a number of other priorities to deal with, and as one of the top free agents on the defensive side of the ball Queen was positioned to command a large market. Even though he worked out a relatively small deal (at least in terms of upfront guarantees), the Ravens clearly turned their attention elsewhere.

Of course, three key decisions made by the team signaled an end to Queen’s time in Baltimore. The Ravens acquired Roquan Smith midway through the 2022 campaign, inking him to a $20MM-per-year deal shortly thereafter. That contract remains at the top of the LB market, and making a similar commitment to Queen would have proven to be a steep financial challenge. Baltimore also elected to decline Queen’s fifth-year option last spring, a move which fell in line with the other linebackers from the 2020 class but nevertheless set up 2023 as a walk year.

Lastly, Baltimore selected Trenton Simpson in the third round of last year’s draft. That provided the team with a potential Queen successor, and Simpson is indeed currently positioned to take over as a starter alongside Smith. The latter is on the books through 2027, but the Ravens could of course use the 2024 draft to add a depth option at the linebacker spot.

Queen will face substantial expectations as a key member of the Steelers’ defense moving forward, and annual contests against Baltimore will provide fodder for storylines centered on him. While it is little surprise he will be suiting up for a new team in 2024, the Ravens will see Queen at least twice next season after conceding his departure well before free agency.

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