Ronnie Stanley

AFC North Notes: Lamar, Stanley, Atkins

Conflicting reports emerged early regarding Lamar Jackson extension talks with the Ravens. The self-represented quarterback has, in fact, engaged in discussions with the team, per Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com (video link). While it does not sound like the talks have progressed too far, GM Eric DeCosta said he and Jackson have spoken about the framework of a deal, Hensley adds. An earlier report indicated the Ravens and Jackson were not close on terms, and while that may be, DeCosta confirmed true negotiations will commence at some point. John Harbaugh said earlier this year a Jackson extension would likely come to pass either this offseason or in 2022. Jackson is due just $1.77MM in base salary this season.

Several quarterbacks — Russell Wilson, Patrick Mahomes, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Deshaun Watson — have opted for extensions going into their fourth seasons in recent years, rather than earn rookie-contract money in Year 4. Dak Prescott waited, and that worked out well. Prescott’s new deal figures to help Jackson, as do the impending new TV deals that could restore the NFL’s salary cap growth. The Ravens will certainly pick up Jackson’s fifth-year option — a fully guaranteed $23.1MM — in May, giving them more time to work out a deal.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • After trading Geno Atkins‘ longtime defensive line mate, the Bengals are not committing to bringing back their perennial Pro Bowl defensive tackle. Cincinnati shipped Carlos Dunlap to Seattle, after reducing his role last season, and used Atkins in a part-time capacity during his eight-game 2020 season. The 11-year veteran battled a shoulder injury last season. “We’ll see what if any of the room we need to do some other things. It’s a fluid situation,” Bengals player personnel director Duke Tobin said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Tyler Dragon. “… He’s a homegrown product, really a success story and a guy I have loved watching grow over the years. He gave us what he had last year but it was not near what he’s used to and what we are used to seeing.” Atkins, who will turn 33 later this month, should not be expected back on a $14.7MM cap number. It will be interesting to see how the Bengals proceed with their seven-time Pro Bowler.
  • Having missed out on J.J. Watt, the Browns are expected to pursue a big-ticket defensive end to complement Myles Garrett. They created another vacancy up front, cutting Adrian Clayborn after one season.

Latest On Ravens OL Orlando Brown Jr.

Orlando Brown Jr. has established himself as one of the most versatile offensive tackles in the entire league, but the Ravens lineman is making it clear that he only wants to play one position. Per Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com, Brown Jr. recently took to Twitter to declare “I’m a LEFT tackle.”

Brown clarified that his father, former NFL player Orlando Brown, always wanted his son to be a left tackle in the NFL. Brown Jr. had a chance to play some of the position in 2020, but he’s traditionally played on the right side. Considering incumbent Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley should be fully healthy next season, Brown Jr. seemed to insinuate that he may have to move on in order to achieve his father’s dream.

“It’s never been about the money,” Brown wrote. “I’m so appreciative for this organization and all my teammates. I couldn’t thank [GM Eric] DeCosta enough, he’s a incredible football mind and one the best men I know. I want to live out the dream my dad had for me.”

The 2018 third-round pick has spent his entire career in Baltimore, starting 42 of his 48 games. He earned a Pro Bowl appearance as a right tackle in 2019, and he garnered another nod in 2020 while splitting time between left and right tackle. His versatility was required following an injury to Stanley, but the organization recently gave the fellow lineman a hefty five-year, $98.75MM contract. There’s little chance the front office moves on from Stanley following that kind of commitment, meaning Brown Jr. likely won’t have an opportunity to play left tackle in Baltimore.

If Brown Jr. heavily values the position he plays, that could be very relevant when the lineman hits free agency following the 2021 season. The Ravens could look to move on from the 24-year-old if they believe he’s a flight risk, and they also might not want to deal with a disgruntled player as they make another push toward a championship next season.

Ravens Place Ronnie Stanley On IR

It’s now official. On Tuesday, the Ravens placed star left tackle Ronnie Stanley on injured reserve. The surgery to repair his severe ankle injury will cost him the remainder of the year. 

It’s a brutal blow for a team that has relied heavily on Stanley to protect quarterback Lamar Jackson and keep the offense humming along. Up until the injury, Stanley was remarkable durable, and lucky. Between 2017 and 2019, Stanley started at least 14 games. Fortunately, he won’t have to worry about his financial security, thanks to his newly-inked five-year, $99MM deal.

Stanley was outstanding last season, earning First-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. Without him, the Ravens will turn to 2018 third-rounder Orlando Brown Jr., who is shifting from the right side to the left. Versatile veteran D.J. Fluker, meanwhile, is expected to man the RT spot.

In related news, the Ravens also placed rookie offensive lineman Tyre Phillips on IR with a hand injury. The issue kept Phillips out of the team’s Week 9 game and it’s not clear whether he’ll be able to return later this year. At minimum, he’ll be out for the next three games against the Colts, Patriots, and Titans.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley Done For Season

The Ravens fell two games behind the Steelers in the AFC North with their loss Sunday, and they got some even worse news immediately after the game. Head coach John Harbaugh announced to reporters that left tackle Ronnie Stanley would miss the rest of the season with a “severe ankle injury.” The official diagnosis: A fractured and dislocated ankle that also likely includes torn ligaments (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Although he faces a long road to recovery, Stanley is expected to be back and ready in time for the 2021 season. 

It’s an especially brutal blow for a team that has built its identity around dominating in the trenches. Stanley had been pretty durable up to this point, starting at least 14 games each of the past three seasons. Fortunately for Stanley he wrapped up his long-term financial security just in the nick of time, as he signed a five-year, $99 million extension only a couple of days ago. If it had to happen, at least he got paid first.

The Notre Dame product was drafted sixth overall back in 2016, and the high draft pick has panned out for Baltimore. He was outstanding last season, earning first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections. When Stanley went down 2018 third-rounder Orlando Brown Jr. slid over from right tackle to left, with veteran D.J. Fluker taking over from Brown.

Presumably that’ll be the situation moving forward, with Brown manning Lamar Jackson‘s blindside. Stanley is only 26, and should still just be entering the prime of his career. Even assuming it’s a bad fracture with his ankle, there’s no reason to believe he won’t be 100 percent by the time the 2021 season rolls around.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Sign Ronnie Stanley To $99MM Extension

The Ravens have signed Ronnie Stanley to a five-year, $98.75MM extension, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The pact includes a whopping $70.9MM in total guarantees and takes the star left tackle through the 2025 season. 

[RELATED: Ravens, Marlon Humphrey Agree To $98MM+ Deal]

Stanley fell short of Laremy Tunsil‘s $22MM-per-year watermark, but not by much. The deal still represents a major investment for the Ravens, who have secured one of the league’s best tackles for years to come. Baltimore did have the option of the franchise tag, but it would have saddled them with a massive cap hit for 2021. All in all, Stanley is set to earn $112.86MM between now and the end of the commitment.

Ronnie is the mainstay on our offensive line,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “He’s a shutdown left tackle who excels on the field and in our community. This is just the beginning for Ronnie, and we could not be happier for him and his family.”

DeCosta has been working hard to secure Baltimore’s stars for the long haul. Earlier this month, he inked Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey to a strikingly similar deal — $98.75MM over five years.

Stanley is undeniably happy about the deal, though Tunsil’s remains the gold standard for tackles by a mile. Tunsil doesn’t just have the higher AAV — he has the ability to cash in all over again during his prime. Stanley arguably sacrificed some upside with his Baltimore re-up, but he has security, and more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Stanley, Tate, Broncos, TV

The Ravens and Ronnie Stanley began discussing an extension in February, but after taking a long break prior to an August negotiation resumption, the sides remain without a deal. An understandable reason may be holding up the talks. Buzz has emerged that Stanley is seeking a contract that pays him north of Laremy Tunsil‘s market-reshaping $22MM-per-year pact, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes (Insider link). Stanley has been diplomatic about the talks, but he is poised to cash in soon. Tunsil, of course, carried unique leverage after the Texans dealt two first-round picks to land him. Stanley, however, is Baltimore’s top lineman and became a top-tier tackle ahead of his contract year. The Ravens will have the option of a pricey franchise tag, in a year when the cap could plummet by a record margin, if they cannot extend Stanley by the March tag deadline.

Here is the latest from around the league:

  • In another AFC North matter, one of the Bengals‘ wide receivers may be unhappy. And it is not A.J. Green. The Bengals made Auden Tate a healthy scratch Thursday night, and his agent floated the prospect of a trade. While Deiric Jackson stopped short of saying his client has requested one, it is clear Team Tate is not content. “He was healthy and ready to go,” Jackson said, via CBS Sports’ Cody Benjamin. “If they don’t know how to use him, I’m sure there are plenty of other teams that would love to have a weapon like that offensively.” Tate played 15 snaps in Cincinnati’s opener. The Bengals used the 6-foot-5 target frequently last season — when he caught 40 passes for 575 yards — but now have Green back and second-rounder Tee Higgins in the fold. Two seasons remain on Tate’s seventh-round contract.
  • The Broncos have put off major investments at inside linebacker since Brandon Marshall‘s 2016 extension, but Mike Klis of 9News notes the team considered both signing street free agent Christian Kirksey and using its first-round pick on Patrick Queen this year. This is not the first time the Broncos were linked to a first-round likebacker under Vic Fangio. Had they not executed a trade-down for Noah Fant in the 2019 first round, they would have chosen Devin Bush 10th overall. Denver, which cut longtime starter Todd Davis this month, used 2019 breakout player Alexander Johnson and 2018 draftee Josey Jewell as its three-down ‘backers Monday.
  • Phillip Lindsay will not be available for the Broncos against the Steelers. The talented running back is battling turf toe, leaving Royce Freeman as Melvin Gordon‘s top Week 2 backup.
  • Blake Bortles remains a free agent, but the former Jaguars starter and Rams backup is waiting on the right situation to open up, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. After starting for five seasons, Bortles threw just two passes in 2019.
  • NFL owners are confident they will have “groundbreaking” TV deals in place by early 2021, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. The league was making progress during its negotiations with networks prior to the pandemic, and La Canfora adds that the contracts would likely have been finalized were it not for COVID-19. The next round of TV contracts were expected to be a game-changer for the NFL; projections of a $260MM-plus salary cap within a few years surfaced this past winter. While fanless stadiums amid the pandemic will cut into that short-term growth, teams authorizing big extensions in recent weeks points to confidence in long-term financial stability. The NFL’s ESPN contract expires after the 2021 season; its deals with the other networks are not up until the end of 2022.

Ravens, Ronnie Stanley Resume Talks

The Ravens have a few key players either in contract years or eligible for extensions. Ronnie Stanley resides as one of those talents, and the team has resumed talks with its cornerstone left tackle, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes.

This certainly represents a notable development, with Hensley adding that these talks had been on hold since the parties last discussed the issue in February. One season remains on Stanley’s rookie deal.

Stanley surged to the All-Pro first team last year and can realistically aim to become the NFL’s highest-paid tackle. That distinction will mean more now than it would have had the parties reached an agreement last year. Laremy Tunsil drove the market to the $22MM-per-year range earlier this year. No other tackle earns more than $18MM on average, creating an interesting issue for a Ravens team that also has Matt Judon on the franchise tag and Marlon Humphrey eligible for a new deal. Lamar Jackson and Mark Andrews will become extension-eligible after the season.

It’s not really at the forefront of my mind. We’re still in talks, and hopefully, we are trying to get something done soon,” Stanley said, via Hensley. “But I think my main focus has always been be the best player I can be [and] help my team win. The money usually takes care of itself after that.”

The cap potentially set to decrease by more than $20MM in 2021 has many teams stalled on contract talks. Stanley will be the Ravens’ top franchise tag candidate, should the sides not agree to a deal this year. The 26-year-old blocker is attached to a $12.87MM fifth-year option salary this season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC North Notes: Colts, Mack, Ravens, Stanley, Humphrey

After his first season with more than 1,000 yards rushing, Marlon Mack isn’t assured the starting role in the Colts‘ backfield. Head coach Frank Reich says he’ll have a leg up on second-round pick Jonathan Taylor, but he also says that fans shouldn’t get too hung up on the RB1 designation.

There’s definitely inherent respect for the starter returning,” Reich said (via Kevin Bowen of 105.7 The Fan). “I see it as a 1-1 (punch). The way the league has gone and the way role playing has been elevated in our league, it’s made it prominent. We used to say in San Diego that when we had Danny Woodhead. He was not our starter, he was our ‘role playing’ starter. He played such a significant role. He had 80 catches in a year. You look at a guy like Nyehim Hines. We talk about Marlon and Jonathan, but what about Nyheim? He’s such a good third-down back that he’ll play a prominent (role). In some ways, (Hines) is a starter. He’s a role-playing starter.”

Right now, it seems like Mack will have to prove himself all over in camp as he gets set for his final year under contract. As it stands, he’s set to make $2.13MM in base salary before reaching the open market in March of 2021.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • After turning in a stellar season, Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley could become the league’s highest-paid non-quarterback, ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley writes. Currently, Bears edge rusher Khalil Mack ($23.5MM per year) leads the way, followed by Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald ($22.5MM). This year, fellow left tackle Laremy Tunsil ($22MM/year) put himself in that neighborhood, but Stanley is likely to leapfrog him. In 2019, Stanley allowed Lamar Jackson to be pressured just six times, the lowest total of any offensive tackle in 14 years.
  • The Ravens have other deals on their agenda, of course, including a new contract for Marlon Humphrey. With all due respect for Stanley, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic argues that the cornerback should actually be priority No. 1. When it comes to Stanley, his comp has already been set, thanks to the Tunsil deal. Meanwhile, time is of the essence with Humphrey – the top of the CB market will be reset soon with Jalen Ramsey, Marshon Lattimore, and Tre’Davious White all due for new deals.
  • The Browns went ahead with their gradual re-opening plan with Phase 1 beginning on Monday (Twitter link). Meanwhile, other clubs are still working on alternative plans. The Raiders, who were set to hold camp in Napa, California, may shift to their new headquarters in Henderson, Nevada.

Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley On Contract Talks

The Ravens have started discussing an extension for left tackle Ronnie Stanley, but Stanley himself does not seem overly concerned about the process. “I’m in no rush. I’m not really worried about it,” he said (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic).

Baltimore was surely unhappy to see Texans head coach/GM Bill O’Brien hand LT Laremy Tunsil the key to the city and a three-year, $66MM extension last month. As Joel Corry of CBS Sports observes, the Ravens generally aren’t fans of short-term deals for premium players — unless that player cedes some money in exchange for the shorter term — so the fact that Tunsil got a three-year pact while also resetting the left tackle market in terms of AAV ($22MM) and full guarantees ($40MM) could make things tough for the Ravens.

That is especially true when considering that Stanley is probably the better player. Though both Stanley and Tunsil received their first Pro Bowl nods in 2019, Stanley took home First Team All-Pro honors, and he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ top pass blocker last season. The Notre Dame product is also a force in run-blocking, and his performance was instrumental in the Ravens’ offensive explosion during Lamar Jackson‘s first full year at the helm.

However, perhaps Stanley will not try to top Tunsil’s pact. While the 26-year-old of course wants to be paid what he is worth, he also said, “at the end of the day, I don’t think money is the most important thing to me” (Twitter link via Zrebiec). One way or another, Stanley will be incredibly rich in fairly short order, and perhaps resetting the market is not as meaningful as protecting Jackson’s blindside for the foreseeable future and remaining with a well-respected organization that appears to have a championship-caliber foundation.

According to Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com, though, the expectation is that Stanley’s next contract will exceed Tunsil’s. Stanley is presently slated to earn $12.8MM in 2020 under the fifth-year option of his rookie deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ravens Discussing Extensions With Matt Judon, Ronnie Stanley

The Ravens have started discussing new deals with edge rusher Matt Judon and left tackle Ronnie Stanley, according to GM Eric DeCosta (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Jamison Hensley). A deal with one of those players, or both, would give the Ravens some much needed breathing room against the salary cap for 2020.

[RELATED: Ravens Interested In Clowney?]

The Ravens have until the middle of July to hash out a deal with Judon, who was cuffed via the franchise tag. For now, Judon is set to play out the 2020 season at a rate of $15.8MM since he has been classified as a linebacker. However, as we’ve seen before with DE/LBs, a grievance could be coming. If Judon fights back and wins, he could be in line for roughly $17.8MM this year.

I’d rather have a long-term deal for stability. It is what it is,” Judon said in March (Twitter link via Josina Anderson of ESPN.com). “I feel like this is what many of us go through that are facing free agency. At the end of the day, I know I’m playing football next season.”

Judon has been a key weapon for the Ravens for years. Last year, he took another giant step forward with 9.5 sacks and a total of 33 quarterback hits. The 27-year-old has 24.5 sacks over the past three seasons and lots of leverage as he discusses a new pact with Baltimore.

Stanley also has one year to go, thanks to his fifth-year option. Last year, he graded out as Pro Football Focus’ top pass blocker in the NFL. In 2020, he’s slated to earn $12.8MM.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.