The Ravens and cornerback Marlon Humphrey have agreed to a five-year contract extension that will keep the Pro Bowl cornerback as a cornerstone of the defense for the foreseeable future, the team announced Oct. 1.
Contract terms were not announced, but the NFL Network reported the deal would be worth $97.5 million, with $66 million guaranteed. That would be second-richest contract ever given to a Ravens player and the second-highest given to a cornerback.
“Marlon is the type of player we want in Baltimore,” Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said. “Besides his obvious talent as a playmaking corner, he’s a passionate competitor who craves winning. Marlon has been a stalwart in our community, and we are excited that he’s going to remain with us for seven seasons.”
Humphrey, the Ravens’ first-round pick at No. 16 overall out of Alabama in 2017, was in the final year of his rookie contract, though the Ravens had exercised a fifth-year option for the 2021 season. The extension keeps Humphrey under contract through 2026.
“It’s great to sign that deal and know that for the next couple years you’re going to be a Raven,” Humphrey said. “I’ve really enjoyed this organization, this city, these fans, the people around me. And so it was really big for me to stay a Raven.”
Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti previously has said he believes in paying “ascending players,” and Humphrey, 24, appears to be exactly that.
Last year, Humphrey earned his first Pro Bowl appearance as he recorded 65 tackles, three interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.
Humphrey (6-foot, 197 pounds) quickly established himself as one of the best cover cornerbacks in the league, and he has played in all but two games over his first four seasons. But the lack of what he calls “splash plays” might have led him to be overlooked in Pro Bowl consideration in his first two years.
Last year, Humphrey made several game-changing plays, including a forced fumble and subsequent recovery in overtime at Pittsburgh. He punched the ball out of JuJu Smith-Schuster’s hand, setting up a game-winning field goal by Justin Tucker.
Humphrey also returned a fumble for a touchdown in a win at Seattle last season and blocked a San Francisco 49ers field goal attempt in a 20-17 Ravens win, one of their franchise-record 14 last season.
In three games this year, Humphrey has 14 tackles and a team-high four passes defensed. He also has an interception and a forced fumble, another punch-out, which was returned for a touchdown by L.J. Fort in the Ravens’ 33-16 win at Houston.
Humphrey’s contract was considered one of the top financial priorities for DeCosta and the front office, which faces several major contract issues looming on the horizon.
Left tackle Ronnie Stanley is playing out the fifth-year option of his rookie contract, so he becomes a free agent next spring, as does linebacker Matthew Judon, who is playing this year under the franchise tag. Those set to become free agents after the 2021 season include tight end Mark Andrews and tackle Orlando Brown. Quarterback Lamar Jackson’s rookie deal is also up after the 2021 season, though the Ravens can exercise a fifth-year option since Jackson was a first-round draft pick.
Humphrey’s extension means the core of their secondary will be in place for the foreseeable future. The Ravens signed Pro Bowl cornerback Marcus Peters to a three-year contract extension in December, and roughly two months later, they did the same with safety Chuck Clark. Safety DeShon Elliott is in the third year of his four-year rookie deal.
The son of former NFL running back Bobby Humphrey, Marlon fought back tears at one point talking about the influence his father had on his career. He joked that his father still closely follows his financials and had noticed that linebacker Matthew Judon had charged a pizza to Marlon’s credit card.
Humphrey’s contract is the second-largest given to a cornerback in NFL history. Jalen Ramsey of the Los Angeles Rams signed a five-year, $105 million deal earlier this year.
“Being the highest paid never really was a factor,” Humphrey said. “The biggest thing for me was just staying a Raven. I remember when I first got here … me and Chris Moore used to joke around saying, ‘Ravens for life,’ and it’s a very good feeling to actually be one.”
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