Geno Stone sounds like Justin Madubuike as possible Ravens departure looms

Stone may not be back in Baltimore

Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens
Denver Broncos v Baltimore Ravens / G Fiume/GettyImages

Any Baltimore Ravens fan who went into this season saying the team's offseason plans would hinge on Justin Madubuike and Geno Stone would have been derided as absolutely insane. Just a few months later, Madubuike might get a $20 million per year contract and Stone is a hot commodity.

Stone went from a seldom-used backup in his first three years to a player who led the AFC in interceptions with seven takeaways. The former Iowa star could not have picked a better time to have a career year and hit the open market.

Madubuike said that he would love to return to Baltimore for the foreseeable future, but he knows this is his best time to cash in financially and let everyone know that "business is business." Stone seems to be of a similar mindset of wanting to return to the Ravens while also keeping an eye out for bigger deals elsewhere.

"At the end of the day, Baltimore is always home, but business is business," Stone said on NFL Network. "You know that being in this league this long. I've been through it all, especially my rookie year. I just want to be somewhere I'm appreciated, you know, who wants me and for me to be a starter, whatever it may be."

Baltimore Ravens safety Geno Stone says "business is business" in free agency

The Ravens played three safeties quite frequently under Mike Macdonald, and that trend is likely to continue under Zach Orr. With Kyle Hamilton emerging as an All-Pro player and Marcus Williams living up to his contract, Stone would give Baltimore the best trio of safeties in the NFL.

While Stone is never going to be Brian Dawkins as a run defender, every metric you could use to evaluate safety play ranks him highly in coverage. Still just 24 years old with his best football ahead of him, Stone is not going to come cheap for a team that is already going to allocate a ton of money elsewhere in free agency.

If the Ravens are unable to retain Stone, there are ways to bring in a third starter and remain effective. On top of the fact there are multiple Day 2 players in the 2024 NFL Draft who could make an impact, veterans like Eddie Jackson could provide cheaper alternatives.

The Ravens should try to get something done with Stone, but at a time when he wouldn't be faulted one iota for joining the highest bidder, Baltimore needs to make sure they have a solid backup plan.