Who is next in line: Ronnie Stanley or Marlon Humphrey

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BALTIMORE, MARYLAND – JANUARY 11: Lamar Jackson #8 and Ronnie Stanley #79 of the Baltimore Ravens react during the first half in the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Tennessee Titans at M&T Bank Stadium on January 11, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Who should the Baltimore Ravens prioritize getting an extension with, Ronnie Stanley or Marlon Humphrey? We start with the case for Stanley:

Ronnie Stanley is one of the best tackles in football. Left tackle in the NFL is one of the most lucrative careers in professional sports; if you thought C.J. Mosley got a lot of money in free agency, you should think about what Stanley can make in free agency. Stanley isn’t a free agent until after the 2020 season, but the Ravens don’t want to even think about him hitting the open market. The Ravens would have a hard time getting into a bidding war for his services and getting a deal done a year early prevents that from even being a concern.

The Ravens are racing with the Houston Texans. They have Laremy Tunsil, a player that was traded to them from the Miami Dolphins. Stanley and Tunsil were the top two offensive tackles from the 2016 NFL Draft class. One of them will be the highest paid left tackle in the game soon. One of these players will set the asking price for the other.

The Ravens are in a situation where they have never had more incentive to a get a deal done early. If the Ravens don’t get a deal with Stanley before the end of the 2020 season, the franchise tag may not be an option. The franchise tag for a left tackle is an exorbitant price for one season just to delay the possibility of losing Stanley after the 2021 season.

One way or another the Ravens are going to offer Stanley a lot of money. By giving Stanley an extension they can work the contract out in the most team friendly way possible. The Ravens have a franchise quarterback and they are building a very specific kind of offense around him. Everything starts with a dominant offensive line, something the Ravens just had in Stanley’s most impressive season to date.

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Investing in Stanley is something the Ravens have to do. He’s a player who has to be a Raven for life. Getting in front of it is the way to make sure the most important piece of the offensive line is part of the plan. Taking care of Stanley will allow the Ravens to map out the moves they need to make to stay contenders throughout the Jackson era.

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