Ravens’ Tony Jefferson Jokes About Calais Campbell Return

Calais Campbell

Getty Calais Campbell's longtime teammate wants him to return to the Ravens.

Tony Jefferson wants Calais Campbell to return to the Baltimore Ravens and not try and find a new home in free agency. Campbell is 35, but he remains one of the more disruptive interior defensive linemen in the NFL, so the Ravens can expect him to have a healthy market of interested teams to choose from.

Campbell seems aware of the interest he might draw. He told Josina Anderson of CBS Sports he’s prepared to test the waters, even though he’d like to return to Baltimore.

Campbell’s hint about finding pastures new prompted teammate Jefferson to reply with a suggestion of his own:

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Campbell’s Still a Force

It makes sense for Jefferson and other members of the Ravens to want Campbell to re-up for another stint. Campbell’s in the winter of his career, but he’s still a force in the trenches.

He proved as much by starting 14 games in 2021, but his numbers, 41 combined  tackles, 1.5 sacks, one pass breakup and a fumble recovery, weren’t spectacular.

Yet, Campbell’s value is in the hidden stats, like the ones that chart pressures, per PFF BAL Ravens:

Campbell is also still a formidable presence against the run. He helped the Ravens allow the fewest rushing yards in the league, 1,436, a year ago.

Campbell’s value also extends beyond his stellar work along the defensive line. He’s still a playmaker on special teams, specifically when it comes to blocking kicks.

The 6’8″, 300-pounder made this clutch block of a field goal attempt during the Ravens’ comeback win over the Indianapolis Colts from Week 4:

Campbell remains arguably the best defensive tackle in a less-than-inspiring class at the position in this year’s market. The paucity of options has already seen Larry Ogunjobi get paid big by the Chicago Bears, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and Dave Lombardi of The Athletic believes San Francisco 49ers’ nose tackle D.J. Jones could be next:

Campbell has a better track record than both players, and the Ravens still need him, especially since other members of the front are also set to test the market. Nose tackle Brandon Williams is a fellow free agent, but it might be tough to bring him and Campbell back, despite a decent amount of space under the salary cap.

General manager Eric DeCosta has $16,434,465 to work with, according to Spotrac.com. If DeCosta has to make a choice, all signs point to the Ravens choosing Campbell.

Ravens Want Campbell Back

DeCosta hasn’t been shy about expressing his wish Campbell will suit up for the Ravens again in 2022. The GM admitted as much ahead of the Scouting Combine, per Clifton Brown of the team’s official site: “I have a lot of admiration for Calais as a person and as a player and as a leader. I’m hopeful that we can bring him back. We’d love to bring him back.”

It makes sense to add Jefferson’s name to the list of people who want the team to bring Campbell back. They both spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before Jefferson moved to Baltimore in 2016.

Campbell followed suit four years later following an exceptional three-season stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars. While he contemplated retirement after last season, Campbell confirmed during an appearance on Sky Sports’ broadcast of Super Bowl LVI he would prolong his career, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.

The decision was made because Campbell still wants to scratch that championship itch and lift a Lombardi Trophy. He can still wreck blocking schemes from defensive end or tackle, so giving Campbell another short-term deal is in the best interests of the Ravens.

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