Not everyone can be a Baltimore Raven forever — a Ray Lewis type of player only comes once in a lifetime.
This offseason, as the Ravens look to build a younger foundation through the 2022 NFL Draft, a handful of veterans may find themselves slowly phased out. This changing of the guard has been a long time coming — last season, Baltimore ranked as the sixth-oldest team in the league with an average roster age of 25.69.
But it’s not so easy as “Out with old, in with the new.” The Ravens have numerous needs heading into the 2022 season, and chances are the rookies they end up picking won’t all be starting-caliber level. Vets and youngsters will mesh to make one big happy family, allowing for a gradual and ideally seamless transition that ensures the team will compete at a high level for many years ahead.
Who will stay, and who will go? These four players may be along for one last ride on the Ravens, perhaps choosing to retire at the end of the season or finish their careers elsewhere.
They all share one thing in common, though: each player gave some of his most productive years to Baltimore, and even if he parts ways with the team in the near future, he’ll always have a friend in the Ravens.
Here are four Ravens players who could enjoy one final campaign in 2022.
4. Calais Campbell
Defensive end Calais Campbell was recently re-signed to a two-year, $12.5 million deal, after which he’s more than likely done with football, but we think he’ll call it quits earlier than that.
Campbell was thinking of retiring after the 2021 season but decided he wanted to keep playing for at least another season, inspired by watching the Los Angeles Rams win the Super Bowl. At 35-years-old, this is one of Campbell’s last chances to win a ring, and he couldn’t have chosen a better team to vie for the championship.
Re-signing Campbell means the Ravens get to keep their veteran D-lineman for the next two years, but Campbell’s inconsistent production may cause him to fall down the depth chart or be quickly replaced by a younger talent.
Campbell posted a career-low 1.5 sacks last season and added 12 quarterback hits, which is a far cry from the 20-30 QB hits he recorded on his former teams, Arizona and Jacksonville, a handful of years ago.
Bringing back Campbell was arguably Baltimore’s most important defensive move this offseason. The question now is: how long will he play for?
The Ravens must continue to limit his snaps if they want him to stay elite all year round and will look for Campbell’s heir come April. If they find a developmental defensive linemen who can take over Campbell’s starting role by mid-season, Campbell may rather retire than sit on the bench. 2022 could very well be his last year of playing football, ever.