This will not come as much of a surprise given Ravens GM Eric DeCosta‘s penchant for being proactive in locking up key contributors, but Baltimore is reportedly pushing to extend left tackle Ronnie Stanley, per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Stanley is eligible for free agency next year, but the Ravens don’t want him to sniff the open market.
Baltimore selected Stanley with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2016 draft, and he has lived up to his draft status. He has started every game in which he has appeared since entering the league, and he has steadily improved in each of his first four years in the pros. His 2019 effort was his best yet, and he was a major factor in MVP Lamar Jackson‘s remarkable season.
Indeed, Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics indicate that Stanley might just be the past pass-blocking tackle in football, and while Jackson’s elusiveness certainly helped matters, Stanley did not yield a sack all season. He was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl and First Team All-Pro bids for his efforts.
And he is about to cash in. He is due a $12.87MM salary under the fifth-year option of his rookie pact, but the Ravens obviously want to keep him around for the long haul. The Notre Dame product is likely to top the five-year, $80MM ($50MM guaranteed) contract that Taylor Lewan signed with the Titans in July 2018, which currently paces the LT market in terms of AAV and total value.
Even an extension of that size, though, may allow the Ravens to lower Stanley’s 2020 cap hit, which would be helpful to a club that has more cap space than it has had in years but which has several areas of concern, including pass rusher. La Canfora notes in the same piece linked above that most of the top pass rushers who are eligible for free agency are likely going to be tagged or extended before they hit the market, so Baltimore may need to put the franchise tag on LB Matt Judon, which comes at a price of over $16MM.
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