The Ravens have been the best team in the NFL for a few weeks now, and that's been reflected in the latest editions of the Power Rankings released by multiple media outlets that have Baltimore as the No. 1 Super Bowl contender entering the final week of the regular season.
ESPN just released their final Power Rankings of the season a few days ago, listing Baltimore as the top team in the NFL for the second week in a row. To be honest, that's not news anymore.
What is interesting about the column published by ESPN is the particular topic they discussed, listing the player from each franchise that the beat reporter of said team considers to have "the biggest contract situation to watch this offseason."
In the case of the Ravens, as discussed by Jamison Hensley, that player is defensive tackle Justin Madubuike.
"It’s difficult to find someone who is having a bigger breakout season in a contract year than Madubuike. The former third-round pick has become the NFL’s best interior pass-rusher, drawing comparisons to Aaron Donald. Madubuike has recorded 13 sacks this season after totaling 8.5 sacks in his first three years. He will likely command a contract that averages over $20 million per season. If Baltimore can’t reach a deal with him after the season, the Ravens will presumably place the franchise tag on him to keep him for the 2024 season."- Jamison Hensley, ESPN
"It’s difficult to find someone who is having a bigger breakout season in a contract year than Madubuike," Hensley wrote, and he's completely right.
As he points out in his blurb, Beeks has simply "become the NFL’s best interior pass-rusher," and he's racked up 13 sacks this season for a career-high that is already higher than his 8.5 sacks accrued through all of the seasons he's been an NFL player before this one.
According to Hensley, Madubuike "will likely command a contract that averages over $20 million," which is a hefty sum but one well worth paying given the production he's yielded this season for the Ravens.
There is a chance Baltimore and Madubuike cannot reach a deal that pleases both sides, but even then, and as Hensley reminded his readers, the most probable outcome is that case is that the Ravens "place the franchise tag on him to keep him for the 2024 season."
According to Spotract, Madubuike's market value for the 2024 offseason is at $18.4 million per year, and the platform projects a three-year, $55.4 million contract getting signed by the DT next spring.
Beeks is one of three (among many others, of course) prominent players entering free agency from Baltimore next offseason, along with linebacker Patrick Queen and defensive back Geno Stone, both of whom have also had terrific years in 2023.