Re-signing Calais Campbell gives the Ravens much-needed draft flexibility

Ravens, Calais Campbell (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Ravens, Calais Campbell (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Ravens officially agreed to terms with free-agent defensive lineman Calais Campbell on Saturday as perhaps the team’s most important internal free agent had, indeed, returned.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that the Ravens have signed Campbell to a two-year, $12.5 million deal worth up to $16.5 million with incentives.

The deal is likely to keep Campbell in Baltimore for the remainder of his NFL career with retirement looming in the near future. The 14-year NFL veteran turned down interest from the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, and Kansas City Chiefs to remain in Baltimore.

The Ravens locked up one of their own, and it’s arguably their most important re-signing of the offseason.

The Calais Campbell re-signing is massive for the Ravens

The Ravens entered the offseason with a sizable hole to fill on the defensive line. Even after signing Michael Pierce to act as Brandon Williams’ replacement at nose tackle, it was very obvious that the position needed to be addressed.

The team had always held out hope that Campbell would return, although he certainly weighed his options. Campbell fielded offers from other teams and wanted to take his time seeing as this contract decision would likely be his last as an active NFL player.

Ultimately, he chose the Ravens, and Eric DeCosta and company probably couldn’t be more thrilled.

All of a sudden, a position group that seemed like one of the biggest weaknesses on the team isn’t nearly as dire of a need now heading into the 2022 NFL Draft.

That’s not to say the Ravens shouldn’t still address the defensive line in the draft, and they likely will. However, a unit headed by Campbell, Pierce, Justin Madubuike, and Derek Wolfe isn’t a pressing need anymore.

Even at 35-years-old, Campbell is still a very effective player and he was one of the better contributors on that Ravens defense last season. He finished as Pro Football Focus‘ eighth-ranked interior defensive line earning a stellar 80.8 grade.

Campbell played a vital role in a Ravens’ run defense that finished first in the NFL in 2021, and he provided some value as a pass rusher as well. He’s still a very good player, and his leadership and veteran presence are invaluable assets.

Perhaps most importantly, the re-signing of Campbell allows the Ravens to focus on other, more important, needs in the draft. Positions like edge rusher, the offensive line, cornerback, and even linebacker can now be properly addressed.

Next. 14 Ravens free agents that remain unsigned by any NFL team. dark

The Ravens aren’t forced to take a defensive lineman in the first three rounds of the draft. Re-signing Calais Campbell not only provides a major boost to the defense, but it gives the Ravens increased draft flexibility.