Ravens’ Former 1st-Round Pro Bowler Projected to Earn $16-$18 Million Salary

Ravens LB Patrick Queen tackles Steelers RB Najee Harris.

Getty Ravens LB Patrick Queen tackles Steelers RB Najee Harris.

The defensive free agency class for the 2024 offseason is stacked with Pro Bowl and All-Pro talent for teams to improve through. The Baltimore Ravens have multiple defenders of this quality hitting the market at the same time, most notably linebacker Patrick Queen.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell wrote an article on February 29 ranking the free agent linebackers into tiers and Queen was the top-rated LB according to his tier system. His first tier was “Franchise players” but “This year, though, nobody fits the bill as a franchise-caliber player on the open market,” according to Barnwell.

Barnwell wrote, “The closest thing to a franchise player might be Queen, who had a relatively disappointing first 2½ seasons in the league.”

Queen was listed in the “Pro Bowl-caliber starters” and was the only linebacker in the class to be ranked in this tier. That may work out for the 24-year-old as Barnwell projects, “Average annual salary projection: $16 million to $18 million.”

The contract projection is just under what Spotrac’s market value tool has Queen projected at. According to Spotrac, Queen could be looking at a 5-year, $93 million deal this offseason.

It certainly helps that the salary cap for all teams jumped to record highs, which puts more money out there on the table for players.

Barnwell wrote, “When the Ravens traded for Roquan Smith, the deal was partly a reflection on Queen’s failure to develop into Mosley’s replacement. It unlocked a new level in Queen, however, and he played his best football alongside Smith.”

Now, Queen will look to use that “new level” to reach a new level in pay.

Patrick Queen’s Breakthrough Came at a Good Time

Queen was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 2020 draft as the heir apparent at the position. He was supposed to step in and be the leader of the defense but appeared to struggle in the role.

Pro Football Focus graded his 2020 at a 29.7 overall and his 2021 at a 43.5.

When Smith joined during the 2022 season, Queen was able to focus more on being a bruiser and ball-hawk rather than focusing on calling a defense.

“Queen improved to good in 2022 and was very good in 2023, producing career lows in yards per completion and yards per target,” Barnwell wrote.

PFF also graded his 2022 and 2023 as exceptionally better than his first two seasons in the league. He graded out at 70.0 overall in 2022 and 73.1 overall in 2023.

Queen was able to set a career high in combined tackles during the 2023 season with 133 tackles. He was elected to the Pro Bowl for the first time and was named to the All-Pro Second Team at linebacker.

Ravens Unlikely to Bring Back Pro Bowl LB

When the Ravens brought in Smith, and then proceeded to give him a 5-year, $100 million deal, Queen’s time in Baltimore seemed numbered. Once they declined Queen’s 5th-year option in May of 2023 it seemed likely that Queen would be playing somewhere else in 2024.

“The easy landing spot for Smith is Seattle [Seahawks], where Jordyn Brooks and Bobby Wagner are both free agents and former Ravens coordinator Mike Macdonald has taken over as coach,” Barnwell wrote.

The Ravens limited cap ($16.6 million according to OverTheCap) handcuffs what they would be able to offer to Queen, and according to Barnwell, “The Ravens will pocket a comp pick and move on.”

With the Ravens already having invested $100 million in the LB position, it would be difficult to see them investing potentially another $93 million.

Barnwell believes, “Queen should end up getting something close to an [Tremaine] Edmunds-sized deal somewhere this offseason.”

Edmunds received a 4-year, $72 million deal from the Chicago Bears in May of 2023. Queen may be looking to cash in for a larger deal coming off a spectacular season.

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