The Baltimore Ravens announced Monday that they have agreed to terms on a four-year contract extension with tight end Mark Andrews, with Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reporting the deal is worth $56 million.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler provided more details on the 26-year-old's contract:
The average of $14 million per year ranks third among tight ends behind only George Kittle ($15 million) and Travis Kelce ($14.3 million), per Spotrac.
Andrews was due to become a free agent in 2022 upon the conclusion of his rookie contract. In March, Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said the two sides had already begun "preliminary discussions."
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“We’ve had some preliminary discussions. “Mark is a very good player. I love everything about Mark – his personality, his ability, work ethic, demeanor, competitiveness… He’s the type of guy we want to keep.” GM Eric DeCosta on a potential long-term deal with TE Mark Andrews. https://t.co/3IevYnjcvO
Lamar Jackson's next contract continues to loom over Baltimore's future.
Even if the 2019 MVP falls short of matching Patrick Mahomes' 10-year, $450 million contract, Dak Prescott just returned to the Dallas Cowboys after signing a four-year, $160 million deal. The cost of keeping an elite quarterback isn't getting any cheaper, so it's something the Ravens have to keep in mind while building out their roster.
Thanks to Kittle and Kelce, Andrews was in a good position to command a hefty pay raise from his $3.4 million base salary in 2021.
Through his first three years, the 2018 third-round draft pick also became a vital piece in the Ravens offense. He has caught 156 passes for 2,105 yards and 20 touchdowns in 45 games. Per Stathead, those totals ranked first among Baltimore players by a fairly wide margin.
Andrews' production may not even truly illustrate his value, either, since Jackson isn't a traditional drop-back passer and shouldn't be utilized as such. Put Kelce or Kittle in Andrews' place and they may not be setting tight end receiving records.
DeCosta and his predecessor, Ozzie Newsome, have done well to assemble a deep well of skilled young players. There's a downside to that, however, since sooner or later those young players will hit the open market roughly around the same time.
The Ravens already locked up 2016 first-round pick Ronnie Stanley for five years and $98.8 million. Likewise, 2017 first-rounder Marlon Humphrey was rewarded with a five-year, $97.5 million extension.
Creative front offices can find ways to work around the cap, but eventually, the money runs out.
Baltimore already traded away two-time Pro Bowler Orlando Brown Jr., another member of the 2018 draft class, for multiple picks.
DeCosta will have some difficult decisions ahead. When it came to Andrews, the choice was probably pretty easy.
Russell Wilson publicly lamented the state of Seattle's offensive line in February. The Athletic's Michael-Shawn Dugar, Mike Sando and Jayson Jenks subsequently reported on the wider issues between the quarterback and the team.
The Texans have steadily destroyed their relationship with Deshaun Watson to the point where he reportedly doesn't want to play for them anymore.
The Ravens addressed their passing game through the draft by selecting Rashod Bateman with the No. 27 pick and then adding Tylan Wallace in the fourth round.
Still, allowing Andrews to leave wouldn't have sent a great message to Jackson, and the offense would've clearly been worse without the Oklahoma product if he left as a free agent. Now, Baltimore's star quarterback will have one of his favored targets around for the foreseeable future.