3 reasons Ravens star Justin Madubuike deserved $98 million payday

Madubuike is worth the big investment made in him.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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2. Lack of quality replacement options

Let's take Chris Jones out of the equation for a second, as signing him would have been a complete fantasy land move. If the Ravens didn't go after Christian Wilkins, who was an inferior player compared to Madubuike last season, what would their interior defensive line depth even look like?

Brent Urban is both an aging veteran and a free agent, Michael Pierce might be one of the most one-dimensional players on defense in the NFL, and former third-round pick Travis Jones hasn't shown a scintilla of the pass rush upside Madubuike has. Without him, an elite defense would lose one of their best players.

The Baltimore Ravens could not have replaced Justin Madubuike

Unless Baltimore spent its No. 30 pick on either Johnny Newton or Byron Murphy II (both of whom are unlikely to fall that far), they would be out of a starter and lacking a long-term succession plan. The gap between Madubuike and an average defensive tackle is cavernous, and it would be a major blow to a first-year coordinator in Zach Orr.

Madubuike undoubtedly had leverage, and he utilized it to top the contract that Quinnen Williams received from the New York Jets. With the market thin at his position and the Ravens needing all hands on deck in the next few years, Madubuike correctly identified the fact this defense needs him to perform at his best to reach their full potential.