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Ravens and DC Don “Wink” Martindale agree to a new three-year contract

NFL: AFC Wild Card-Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Jamison Hensley reported this afternoon that earlier in the week, the Ravens signed DC Don Martindale, better known as “Wink”, to a new three-year contract. The exact details of the deal are unknown but it will reportedly make Martindale the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the league.

It’s a well-deserved contract for Martindale, who has been at the forefront of the team’s defensive success over the past two seasons. Martindale garnered head coaching interest from multiple teams around the NFL last month but ultimately came out of the hiring spree unscathed, despite interviewing with the New York Giants.

After the Giants opted to sign Joe Judge as their new head coach, we knew Martindale would be back in Baltimore next season but this news of a fresh, three-year contract comes as a bit of a surprise.

GM Eric DeCosta is evidently pulling out all the stops to ensure that “Wink” remains on the Ravens coaching staff for the foreseeable future. It wouldn’t be surprising to see OC Greg Roman get a new contract, too, although it’s probably less likely.

Martindale, 57, has done a masterful job in maximizing the team’s defensive talents over the past two seasons. In 2018, the Ravens finished the year with the No. 1 overall defense in this year and only dropped off marginally this past season despite losing a slew of talent in players like Terrell Suggs, Za’Darius Smith, Eric Weddle and others.

Other than signing Earl Thomas III in the offseason, the Ravens largely opted to replace their incumbent losses with in-house players and rookies. Then, DeCosta signed several players off the street in the middle of the season to help overcome a slow start.

Martindale deserves credit for getting Josh Bynes, L.J. Fort, Jihad Ward, Domata Peko Sr. and Marcus Peters up to speed and acclimated in his complex system. He did so quickly and swiftly, and the Ravens defense was once again one of the top-tier units in the NFL over the second half of the season because of it.

Baltimore’s defense finished No. 4 overall in the league this past season.

Since being promoted from linebackers coach to defensive coordinator in 2018, Martindale has easily cemented himself as one of the top coaching minds in the league on the defensive side of the ball.

Thankfully, he won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.