Justin Madubuike will likely remain with Ravens in 2024 after GM's comments

Madubuike might be staying in Baltimore long-term.

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers / Joe Sargent/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens have multiple pending free agent cases they need to keep an eye on this offseason while also watching the market for external names, but none of them come close to matching the importance of defensive tackle Justin Madubuike after he piled up a preposterous 13 sacks in 2023.

Madubuike has been very open about the fact that he is eyeing a big paycheck from Baltimore and others on the open market. The Ravens, whom he called "home" in the past, know him best, and it seems like they would love nothing more than to get No. 92 locked up in Baltimore for the remainder of his athletic prime.

At the 2024 NFL Combine, Ravens GM Eric DeCosta confirmed that the organization is trying to get a long-term contract hammered out with Madubuike before he hits the open market. Even if that method of negotiation fails, DeCosta has a backup plan to secure the former Texas A&M star.

DeCosta added that if the Ravens do not agree to a Madubuike extension before next Tuesday, they will use the franchise tag on him. While this is no formal guarantee of a long-term contract being reached, all signs point to Madubuike returning to Baltimore for (at least) the 2024 season.

Baltimore Ravens eyeing long-term deal with Justin Madubuike

Madubuike was a perfectly average rotational defensive lineman prior to his breakout season, which could make some in the Flock hesitant about giving him a long-term contract based on one outlier season. However, his season was so exceptional that not paying him would be malpractice.

Interior defensive linemen who can get pressure on the opposing quarterback without forcing the defensive coordinator to dial up crazy blitz packages are worth their weight in gold. Madubuike would be one of the best defensive players on a Ravens unit that is still one of the very best collective groups in the league.

Hitting Madubuike with the franchise tag will cost the Ravens slightly upwards of $22 million next season, and a long-term deal might end up somewhere in that range. This is a gamble, but imagine the lack of talent on the defensive line if Madubuike is not retained for the 2024 season and beyond.

DeCosta talked about how important continuity is for contenders, and keeping Madubuike would be an excellent example of both sticking true to the creed you espouse from the Combine pulpit and rewarding an internal development success story with the multi-year contract he deserves.