Kyle Hamilton contract: Projecting what an extension might look like

The Ravens need to make sure they lock up Hamilton

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens had to be deliriously happy when Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton, regarded as one of the best prospects at his position in a decade, somehow managed to slip to No. 14 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. After an up-and-down rookie year, Hamilton exploded under Mike Macdonald.

Hamilton recorded three sacks, four interceptions, and 81 tackles in a season that saw him earn First-Team All-Pro honors on arguably the best defense in the league. Teaming with veteran Marcus Williams and standout seventh-round Bengals signee Geno Stone, Baltimore has the best safety room in the league.

After the 2024 season, Hamilton will likely start asking for an extension. If he plays anywhere close to what he put on tape last year, he is not only going to earn a contract that sets him up for life, but there's a very good chance he resets the safety market and becomes the highest-paid player in the league at his position.

Kyle Hamilton contract: What will a Baltimore Ravens extension look like?

Hamilton can lean on the fact that his unique 6-4, 220-pound frame allows him to both hang back in coverage or bang around in run support. Very few safeties in the league offer his level of versatility, and Hamilton is still growing into his body at the NFL level. His best football could be ahead of him.

Currently, Chargers safety Derwin James has the highest average annual value (AAV) for a safety at $19 million per year. Pittsburgh's Minkah Fitzpatrick is right behind him at $18.2 million, while two 2024 free agents in Tampa Bay's Antoine Winfield Jr. and Green Bay's Xavier McKinney will come in at $17.1 million and $16.7 million, respectively.

If the salary cap continues to expand and Hamilton ends up playing like he did last season, it seems like a foregone conclusion that he will become the highest-paid safety in the league, possibly becoming the first player at his position to surpass the $20 million per season threshhold.

While the safety position isn't typically an area where most teams will invest a ton of resources, the Ravens have one of the best young defensive players in the game that needs to be taken care of. With Hamilton in the secondary, Roquan Smith solidifying the linebacker room, and $98 million man Justin Madubuike on the defensive line, the Ravens could have an elite player at all three levels of their defense.