OWINGS MILLS — Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike had a breakout season that put him in position for a huge payday as an unrestricted free agent.
There is speculation that the Ravens will place the franchise tag on Madubuike, which could cost them about $19.7 million, according to overthecap.com.
General manager Eric DeCosta was not about to reveal his plans at the season-ending press conference on Friday, especially after the extensive talks last year with quarterback Lamar Jackson, who eventually signed a five-year, $260 million contract.
“One of the great things about that negotiation was that I learned that it’s beneficial to just not talk about things,” DeCosta said. “There is a value sometimes to not really showing your cards or showing your hand. So, we’ll have all those decisions made at some point coming soon. We don’t have a lot of time.
“We’ll have those decisions made in the coming weeks. We’ll know what’s best for us to do.”
Madubuike, who was a third-round pick in 2020, led the Ravens and all defensive tackles in the NFL with 13 sacks. He also had 33 quarterback hits — ranked third in the league — and was named second-team All Pro. His 11 straight games with at least a half-sack (Weeks 4-15) tied for the longest streak in NFL single-season history.
Madubuike earned a base salary of $2.74 million, so his next contract will be a significant pay raise. His preference is to stay in Baltimore, but he understands his value in the free-agent market.
Madubuike is among 22 unrestricted free agents for the Ravens this offseason.
“In terms of Baltimore, man, that’s home,” Madubuike told NFL.com at the Pro Bowl Games practice. “But, you know, business is business, and that side is going to take care of itself.”