The Baltimore Ravens have multiple players that are in the middle of career years. These career years just happen to coincide with their contract years and have helped the Ravens to a 9-3 record.
Unfortunately, the Ravens put themselves in this tough spot when it comes to Queen.
The Ravens could have had Queen for a fifth year and given themselves an additional year of his service. Instead, Queen is in the midst of a breakout season and is part of the best linebacking duos in the NFL with Roquan Smith without a contract.
According to Fowler, “Baltimore doesn’t have a ton of cap space to play with, and Justin Madubuike also deserves new money, but a three-year, $50.7 million offer could see Queen align with Smith in the middle of the Ravens’ defense for years to come.”
Queen has become a leader and favorite amongst fans and teammates. General Manager Eric DeCosta has been vocal about wanting to get a contract extension done with the linebacker, but it is unclear how much the Ravens will be willing to pay.
Patrick Queen Evolving Into One of NFL’s Best Linebackers
The LSU product has gone over 100 combined tackles three out of four years (coming 2 tackles short in 2021).
The linebacker has taken his game to another level since 2022 though. “Working alongside Roquan Smith, they have looked like the best linebacking tandem in all of football,” Fowler says.
The addition of Smith has seemingly unlocked another level of talent that most fans and evaluators believed Queen had but just had not put together yet.
He took a massive step in 2022 and put up 117 combined tackles, 2 interceptions, 6 passes defended, 5.0 sacks and 14 quarterback hits.
His 2023 season has been even better. PFF grades the fourth-year linebacker at “74.7 overall,” good enough for 23 out of 79 amongst linebackers.
In 12 games this season, the linebacker already has 102 combined tackles, 3.5 sacks, 4 passes defended, and 8 tackles for loss.
Assuming he plays the full season (Queen has never missed a game in his career) he should set career highs in multiple statistics.
What a Roquan Smith Contract Might Look Like
DeCosta will be in a tight spot trying to fit all of his free agents under the cap and will need to prioritize specific players.
Fans and analysts believe that Smith and Queen form the best duo in the league, so the focus should be on keeping the two of them together.
Spotrac’s market value tool has a projected contract for Queen at 4-years, $67 million, which would rank him 5th amongst inside linebackers. Queen’s statistical comparisons have him a bit under C.J. Mosley, Shaquille Leonard, Fred Warner and Smith.
All of those players received five-year contracts starting at $85 million and went to $100 million. Fowler pointed out his estimate for a Smith contract, but according to Spotrac that might be underestimating it.
Smith could take a more cap and team-friendly deal to stay with the team that drafted him, but the NFL is a business and Queen will be looking to capitalize on career seasons.