Free agency looms large this year as multiple star players with the Ravens recently completed their deals and are looking for big-time contracts. Chief among them, Ronnie Stanley and Matt Judon.
Recently, ESPN.com’s Bill Barnwell published his Five 2020 offseason moves for AFC Teams and there’s no surprise what Barnwell said when covering the back-to-back AFC North champions. To paraphrase, “Lock up your star players.”
Three of the five moves Barnwell submits are to keep three of the best players on the roster, including my priority one, which is securing Stanley to a long-term deal.
4. Lock up left tackle Ronnie Stanley. After making three top-six picks between 1996 and 2000, former general manager Ozzie Newsome didn’t pick any higher than 10th for the ensuing 15 years before taking Stanley with the sixth pick of the 2016 draft. The three guys he chose in the top six were Jonathan Ogden, Peter Boulware and Jamal Lewis, who combined to make 16 Pro Bowls, 11 of which belonged to Ogden, who eventually became a Hall of Famer.
The 2019 First-Team All-Pro left tackle has proven he’s worth both the money and term. He turns only 26 in March and a five-to-seven year deal isn’t out of the question.
Back in 2014, the Cowboys locked up the anchor of their offensive line, Tyron Smith, to an eight-year, $98 million deal. At the time, Smith was only 23 years old and still had two years left on his rookie contract, meaning he was tied to them for a grand total of 10 seasons. Slightly different scenarios but with the play ability near the same pedigree and a franchise quarterback worth paying to protect, it’s a good idea to land Stanley long term.