Justin Madubuike, a Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman, was one of the stars of Mike MacDonald’s league-best unit this season, having a career-best year. Madubuike tormented opposing offenses for joy, and his season, in which he led the Ravens in sacks (13.0), quarterback hits (33), and tackles for loss (12), has him on track for a massive salary as an upcoming free agency. While the franchise tag is considered an option for Baltimore, securing Madubuike to a long-term contract is the top aim – but this is far from definite.
According to NFL.com, the Ravens are obtaining an insurance policy on Illinois defensive star Jer’Zhan Newton. “The Ravens likely will do everything in their power to bring back free agent-to-be Justin Madubuike, but if they can’t (or are forced to franchise tag him), Newton could be an intriguing addition to the defensive line, assuming they view him as a fit with their odd front,” according to NFL.com. “He’s a skilled rusher whose superpower is his ability to disrupt blocking schemes.”
The Ravens may be interested in Newton’s ability to play all over the defensive line and be a consistent disruptor. Newton’s outstanding season, which included eight sacks, 28 hurries, and 43 total pressures, earned him the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award in 2023.
Related: Ravens Free Agency Decision: Will Franchise Tag DT Justin Madubuike? Given that the Ravens have a few of defensive players out of contract, particularly Madubuike and Jadeveon Clowney, picking a potential successor could be a wise decision, and Newton certainly appears to meet the criteria.
Of course, the Ravens would like to see Madubuike return given his surge in output this season, but if they can’t, then choosing one of the finest defensive linemen in the next draft is a nice compromise.