Patrick Queen is one of the many players currently rostered by the Baltimore Ravens while playing in their respective contract years. Queen will enter the free agent market once the season is over, and that means Baltimore will need to decide whether the franchise wants to pony up the money needed to retain him, or let him go for free next spring.
This one is going to hurt no matter what, mind you, as the Ravens decided not to extend Queen to his optional fifth year under the NFL's rookie-deal structure. That means that Queen, now in his fourth professional season since getting drafted, will hit free agency one year before the Ravens would have hoped for given how he's performed this year.
According to Bleacher Report’s Ryan Fowler, he "deserves a contract extension before the end of the season," although it's unclear whether or not Queen will land that offer nicely or if he'll instead wait for March to explore the full free-agent market and see how much he can get from other franchise.
As Fowler simply put it in his story, "It's been a heck of a last six months for Baltimore Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen."
And that's the truth: Queen is graded with a ridiculous 74.7 grade by PFF (23rd-best among 79 qualified linebackers) through 12 games this year, and he's already racked up 102 tackles this season to go with 3.5 sacks, four batted passes, and eight tackles for a loss.
Queen looked not so happy with those numbers, judging by his public reaction to the reports about his new contract projection entering the 2024 offseason with a few games still to be played this year.
If that contract materializes, then Queen would be paid less money than him at the position. Most of the top-tier performers at the off-ball linebacker have been getting contracts in the $80-100 million ballpark lasting at least five years, so signing a deal for less than $70 million and only four years is definitely something Queen should reject straight.
It's still too early to know where the two parties, Queen and Baltimore, are in terms of their demands and their willingness to be flexible in negotiations.
That said, it's clear that Queen won't allow any lowballing from the Ravens so GM Eric DeCosta better be paying attention and prepare some good chunk of money if he wants to keep Queen and Roquan Smith anchoring Baltimore's defense.