Ravens' Justin Madubuike may ruin Chiefs with new $98 million contract

The Ravens DT may have reset the market

AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens
AFC Championship - Kansas City Chiefs v Baltimore Ravens / Patrick Smith/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens knew they needed star defensive tackle Justin Madubuike operating at peak efficiency in order to have any shot of unseating Patrick Mahomes and the dynastic Kansas City Chiefs atop the division, and that was reflected in the eye-popping contract the former Texas A&M product earned before free agency.

Madubuike inked a four-year, $98 million contract that makes him the highest-paid defensive tackle in the league on a per-season basis not named Aaron Donald. If this is any sign of how inflated the defensive tackle market will be, teams who need to pay up for their top linemen are in for a rude awakening.

The Chiefs have their own defensive tackle contract to worry about, as Chris Jones is likely to demand a deal worth even more than Madubuike. If the Chiefs don't meet his asking price, he has already shown he is willing to sit out and miss games until he gets the contract he is looking for.

With Kansas City already working with limited cap space and their wide receiver room lacking to the point where multiple additions are needed, they need to watch where every nickel is being allocated this offseason. The Ravens signing Madubuike to such a rich deal raised Jones' price, further complicating contract talks.

Chiefs may overpay Chris Jones after Baltimore Ravens sign Justin Madubuike

Jones' AAV is almost guaranteed to exceed Madubuike's value. On top of the fact adding wide receivers for Mahomes could be more difficult, retaining star cornerback L'Jarius Sneed just got even more difficult, as he is also going to receive top-line money at his position.

While Mahomes proved this year that he can win it all with minimal wide receivers around him, Baltimore seems to be operating under the philosophy that lightning won't be able to strike twice. The Ravens seem to be running it back with largely the same roster that Kansas City slipped past in the AFC Championship.

It seems like almost a foregone conclusion that Kansas City will be unable to pull off that same trick, as they will have to lose one of either Sneed or Jones. With Jones now over 30 and the Chiefs having invested heavily in their defensive line in the Draft, his departure seems a bit more likely than in past seasons.

Any move that hurts Kansas City is good for Baltimore, and the Madubuike deal may have inadvertently done both due to the Chiefs' tight financial picture. If the Chiefs don't pay Jones, a playoff rematch might go much differently.