The Baltimore Ravens have signed star tight end Mark Andrews to a four-year, $56 million contract extension, as first reported by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, with $37.6 million in guaranteed money, per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
News of the extension comes on Andrews’ 26th birthday and just one week before the Ravens’ kick off the 2021 regular season against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Ravens officially confirmed news of the extension on Twitter, posting a series of Andrews’ highlights shortly after reports of the contract first broke.
With Andrews locked up through 2025, the Ravens will now turn their attention to extending superstar quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Ravens Stars React to ‘Money Mark’ Extension
Andrews’ multi-faceted game and extremely productive connection with Jackson makes one of the most important pieces of the Ravens’ offense.
With this contract, DeCosta acknowledged his value, saying on Monday, “Mark is exactly the type of player we wish to keep as a Raven long-term. He’s competitive, passionate, talented and a leader. We are so excited to have him in Baltimore for the next five years. Congratulations to Mark and his family – and happy birthday.”
Once news of the deal broke, congratulations poured in from around the league, with many of Andrews’ current and former teammates — including Lamar Jackson — praising the fourth-year tight end.
Wideout Marquise Brown seemingly coined a fitting nickname: “Money Mark.”
Despite being dealt to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, former Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown Jr. also chimed in his perspective: “Seen my dog pour his heart and soul into this game!!”
Of course, no sizeable contract extension would be complete without a teammate asking for some extra cash. Looking at you, Marlon Humphrey.
Top Dollar for Top TE
The new deal will make the former Oklahoma Sooner the third-highest paid tight end in the NFL, behind only the Kansas City Chiefs‘ Travis Kelce and San Francisco 49ers‘ Greg Kittle. That valuation fits in with Andrews’ production over the last two years, during which he finished first in receiving touchdowns (17), fourth in receiving yards (1,553) and fifth in receptions (122) among all tight ends.
He has been Jackson’s favorite–and most reliable–target since the former Louisville Cardinal took over the starting quarterback job in 2018.
Andrews called his connection with Jackson “special” on a Ravens podcast in August, saying “The way we see the game, when the ball is snapped, it’s just going out there and playing football and doing what we did when we were kids.”
He was an integral part in Jackson’s 2019 MVP season, leading the Ravens with 852 yards and 10 touchdowns on 64 catches, which earned him a 90.2 grade from Pro Football Focus.
Andrews took a step back with the rest of the Ravens offense in 2020, but still caught 58 passes for 701 yards and seven touchdowns.
His statistical output hardly captures the full extent of Andrews’ contribution to the Ravens’ offense, as he forces opposing defenses to give him extra attention in coverage, opening up opportunities for Baltimore’s other pass-catchers. After Andrews’ prolific 2019, former Oklahoma teammate Marquise Brown recorded 58 catches for 769 yards in 2020, up from 46 receptions and 584 yards the year before.
Though fellow Ravens’ tight end Nick Boyle is known for his run-blocking prowess, Andrews more than holds his own opening holes for Baltimore’s running game. He logged a 75.2 run-blocking grade from PFF last season, good for 10th among all tight ends.
The Ravens are excited to see what Andrews can do now that he’s part of a more well-rounded passing attack. With the offseason additions of Sammy Watkins and rookies Rashod Bateman and Tylan Wallace, plus the continued development of Hollywood Brown, Devin Duvernay and James Proche, opponents won’t be able to double-team Andrews with the same frequency as the past two seasons.
An Extension Months in the Making
Andrews’ deal was always in the cards for the Ravens, with general manager Eric DeCosta telling The Baltimore Sun in June that the team “would be foolish not to try and keep him.”
Extension talks continued throughout the summer, with Andrews consistently saying that he wanted to stay in Baltimore long-term.
“I love Baltimore,” Andrews told media in June. “I love playing here. I want to be here for the rest of my life. This is home for me,” he continued.
Andrews reaffirmed his desire to re-sign with the Ravens in August, saying “Playing for the Ravens is top-notch. It doesn’t get much better than this. I want to play here for the rest of my career. That would be awesome.”
With his future in Baltimore secured, Andrews will stay laser-focused on his goal to win a Super Bowl with the Ravens.