One of the main storylines of the Baltimore Ravens offseason has been J.K. Dobbins hold-in, as well as the decision the franchise made by not to offer him nor inside linebacker Patrick Queen new contracts. Eric DeCosta revealed the approach to those situations on Friday.
The GM of the Ravens spoke to media members attending Friday's practice and dealt with all of the questions they asked him for nearly 20 minutes after the training session was over.
Kris Rhim asked the general manager about how the Ravens, and DeCosta personally, "value the running back position" in the current context of the low-balled RB market and position.
"We value good players. I can't speak to how other teams do it, but we want guys at every position who can make plays and help us win football games at the right time. That's across the board. We've paid inside linebackers. We've drafted safeties in the first round. We've drafted a center in the first round. Those aren't your typical 'most important positions.' We've paid left tackles a lot of money. We've paid corners a lot of money. We've paid quarterbacks a lot of money, so I do it based on how good the player is, not necessarily, 'Well this position you should give a ton of money to, and this position you can't give any money to.' For me, it really does depend on how good the player is. When I was growing up as a young scout, I had the chance to see players like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Jamal Lewis, and guys like that. I could see how those guys could take over games, so I understand the argument about running backs and some other positions as well. I think there's definitely some wisdom to who you pay and when you pay those players. On the other hand, we want to try and get as many good players as we can on the team."- Eric DeCosta, Baltimore Ravens GM
DeCosta's answer was very telling in that not only did he touch on the running back position, but he also revealed some of the franchise traits when it comes to valuing and assessing other roster and financial decisions.
"We value good players," DeCosta started, "we want guys at every position who can make plays and help us win."
That's some statement, folks, but it honestly aligns with the Ravens' approach to roster construction, as there are many players paid huge amounts of money in Baltimore that belong to underpaid positions elsewhere in the NFL.
DeCosta said it himself: "We've paid [quarterbacks, cornerbacks, inside linebackers, left tackles]. We've drafted [safeties, a center] in the first round. Those aren't your typical 'most important positions,' I do it based on how good the player is, not necessarily, 'Well this position you should give a ton of money to, and this position you can't give any money to.'
That sounds good, honestly, and that's also encouraging for both J.K. Dobbins in his pursuit of a new deal as well as inside linebacker Patrick Queen, who might be on the outside of Baltimore looking in next offseason when he'll be out of contract.
Queen, along with Roquan Smith, form one of the strongest and best ILB units across the NFL landscape. However, the Ravens traded for Smith ahead of the 2022 deadline and then made him the highest-paid player at the position, which might force Baltimore into losing Queen and saving money to use elsewhere.
Asked about how the Ravens will deal with that and retaining Dobbins by Brian Wacker, EDC answered "We’ve really tried hard to bring back as many of our own players as possible, and that will be what we continue to do.”
When Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic asked about DeCosta's opinion on Queen specifically, the GM said "Patrick’s a gem." He added that the linebacker is "just a guy that shows up to work every single day," labeling the homegrown talent a "very, very talented player," someone "very, very selfless, beloved by his teammates," and "a leader."
DeCosta said that the Ravens expect Queen "to have a great season," but didn't expand on the plans for an extension down the road.