No. 6: Defensive End - Justin Madubuike
Justin freaking Madubuike, folks. If the Ravens have not started talks for his extension or even if they held those but felt a rejection was coming, then Baltimore should lose no time in slapping Beeks with the tag as soon as they are able to do so next offseason.
Yes, Geno Stone has been fantastic. Patrick Queen is a top-10 inside linebacker. Madubuike, however, is simply a one-of-a-kind type of player, full stop.
"Madubuike has a strong case for being the player to earn himself the most money in 2023. With at least half a sack in 11 of 13 games this season, Madubuike has already doubled his prior season high — and he may double his total pressure output by the end of the season, as well. His effort and intensity on backside pursuit plays have always been there, and now an improved arsenal of moves with a more explosive first step has Madubuike set to cash in big time."- Brad Spielberger, Pro Football Focus
Spielberger wrote about Madubuike as a player with "a strong case to earn the most money in 2023," and that's no secret anymore nor has it been for a few weeks.
Madubuike is, per PFF, the sixth-best upcoming free agent part of the class of 2024. The No. 1 player is another defensive lineman (Kansas City's Chris Jones) but it's really hard to project these two and who will end up on top in the salary scale once the ink on their new deals dry come September.
Beeks doubled his 2022 sacks this year and it didn't even take him (almost) half of the season to get there. He is on pace to reach 14 sacks in 2023, perhaps one or two more if things break right for him.
That's insane production for a man getting paid $1.2 million this year but about to multiply that figure by a 20-factor at minimum. PFF has a contract projection of four years for $92 million with an average of $23 million per season. Not far from our (and everybody's) prediction, is it?
EDC, start saving money because Beeks must stay in tow no matter how much it takes to keep him around The Bank for the next five or 10 years.