Ravens beat writer confirms the obvious about Patrick Queen free agency chase

The Ravens had no shot of keeping Queen
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

Of the multitude of players the Baltmore Ravens chose to part ways with this offseason, none of them will have as big of an impact on the overall shape of the defense as linebacker Patrick Queen. After an inconsistent start to his career, Queen and Roquan Smith formed arguably the best linebacker tandem in football.

The pairing was short-lived, however, as Queen quickly signed a contract with the rival Pittsburgh Steelers and wasted no time branding himself as the "villain" who will try to spoil Baltimore's fun. Given his price and the scope of the Ravens roster, a return was always a fantasy option with minimal chance of happening.

According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, the Ravens "made no effort this offseason" to keep Queen despite his status as a first-round pick and his All-Pro season last year. While the Ravens may have had other priorities, the fact they signed so few players makes their plan for the 2024 offseason look overly passive.

While some may have expected this move when the Ravens used a third-round draft choice on Clemson stud Trenton Simpson and brought back their primary backup in Malik Harrison, Queen is now joining their most hated rival after finally putting it all together on the field.

Ravens made no effort to keep Patrick Queen in free agency

With the money the Ravens would have allocated to Queen, Baltimore signed star running back Derrick Henry to a two-year contract. Veteran pass rusher Kyle Van Noy returned on a two-year deal, and offensive tackle Josh Jones agreed to a one-year "prove it" contract.

Queen's contract with the Steelers will ultimately prove how much of his turnaround in Baltimore was due to his own improvement and how much was a byproduct of playing next to Smith on what many considered to be the best defense in football.

Given Simpson's draft status and tremendous range in coverage, he seems like a replacement who could fill in for Queen quite nicely if push comes to shove. Baltimore has a history of turning mid-round picks into starting-level players after watching the previous starter leave in free agency, but asking Simpson to replicate a second-team All-Pro performer in his second season is a tall order.

While the Ravens weren't the most financially flexible team in the world, and they had enough depth to withstand this blow, they got worse and the Steelers improved. Another All-Pro season from Queen could be a tough look for Baltimore.