Ravens left tackle Ronnie Stanley knows the big contract is coming, but he said he feels no sense of urgency to get a deal done.
Still, the long-term future of the Ravens All-Pro left tackle is one of the most important — and most expensive — issues facing general manager Eric DeCosta as this unsettled offseason inches toward training camp.
Stanley, 26, enters the final year of his rookie contract coming off a first-team All-Pro season and as one of the top protectors for franchise quarterback and reigning league Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson. Stanley is set to make about $12.8 million, the value of the fifth-year option the Ravens picked up on their 2016 first-round pick.
Stanley figures to bank much more than that with a long-term deal, but on a conference call with the media May 27, he said that he feels no rush to get any such deal done.
“We’ve been in talks for the last couple of years now,” Stanley said, “so I’m comfortable with where are in that regard. When the time comes, it’ll come.”
DeCosta has acknowledged that he has had talks with agents for both Stanley and outside linebacker Matthew Judon, who has received the franchise tag this spring. The Ravens face a mid-July deadline to reach a long-term deal with Judon or he would play the 2020 season under the tag. There is no such summer deadline with Stanley.
Whether the Ravens reach deals with Stanley and Judon could affect their strategy with other veterans further into the future, including cornerback Marlon Humphrey, whose fifth-year option has been picked up for 2021. Of course, the Ravens next spring would have the option of using the franchise tag on Stanley. (This year, the franchise tag for an offensive lineman was about $14.7 million.)
Stanley did not say whether he would shut down contract negotiations once the season began, as some veterans will do during a contract year, saying only that he would have a better feel for his mind-set once training camp begins — whenever that happens. For now, Stanley said, the Ravens have resorted to Zoom meetings and virtual workouts to try to simulate spring OTA work as much as possible.
Stanley not only helped anchor the Ravens’ record-setting rushing attack in 2019, but he was also the league’s top-rated pass blocker according to Pro Football Focus. He was a first-team All-Pro and made his first Pro Bowl appearance, and he figures to be paid accordingly.
Houston Texans tackle Laremy Tunsil this spring inked a three-year, market-busting deal worth $22 million a season.
“I was super happy that he got what he got,” Stanley said, saying left tackle is one of the hardest positions on the field. “I was happy … because he deserved it.”
That deal surely will come up in negotiations with Stanley, who is now the Ravens’ longest-tenured and most accomplished lineman after the retirement of 13-year veteran guard Marshal Yanda. Stanley didn’t suggest that he’d be giving any discount to the team that originally drafted him at No. 6 overall, but he stressed that his health and his drive to be a great player motivate him more than numbers on a contract.
“I definitely want to get paid my value and what I’m worth or what I feel I’m worth,” Stanley said. “That part is important, but at the end of the day, I don’t think money’s the most important thing to me.”
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