Most of the buzz and speculation surrounding the Baltimore Ravens’ offense thus far this offseason has predominately pertained to upgrading the offensive line and wide receiver depth. However, making sure their dynamic backfield stays intact is vital to their success as well.
On Tuesday, Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta addressed the media and expressed his desire to make sure pending restricted free agent running back Gus Edwards stays in Baltimore in 2021 and hopefully beyond.
“Gus is going to be on the team, one way or the other,” DeCosta said. “We’re going to certainly tender him if we don’t get a long-term deal done, but he is a Raven. He played his butt off this year, and he had a good season for us.”
Retaining the services of Gus ‘The Bus’ who has been their second-most productive and consistent rusher over the last three years is not only smart but it should be a relatively inexpensive move.
Edwards made didn’t initially make the team as an undrafted free agent out of Rutgers in 2018 but was signed to the practice squad following training camp. He was elevated to the active roster midway through the year and seized the starting role shortly thereafter. Together, he and quarterback Lamar Jackson literally ran the Ravens to their first playoff berth after a three-year hiatus.
He’s added to his game each year he’s been in the league and has gone from a one-cut thumping powerback who just goes north and south to a well-rounded and more dynamic player at the position. In 2020, he showed greater speed, vision, acceleration, lateral agility, and pass-catching ability.
Despite only making 13 starts in 42 career regular-season games and being part of a committee backfield rotation in each of the last two seasons, Edwards has rushed for over 700 yards for three straight years. He and Cleveland Browns’ Nick Chubb as the only two players to rush for 700-plus yards and average at least five yards per carry every year since 2018.
Edwards is durable, consistent, productive, still ascending, and routinely makes most of his opportunities despite regularly facing stacked boxes. He’s one of the most underrated players not just on the Ravens roster but in the league as my colleague at Baltimore Beatdown, Jakob Ashlin, detailed in an article last month.