The Ravens are entering free agency with a plethora of needs to possibly fill. One such need is outside linebacker. Baltimore only has one player currently under contract at the position, former third-round pick Jaylon Ferguson. The Ravens could address the hole at edge rusher by choosing to re-sign one or more of their pending free agents, Matthew Judon, Yannick Ngakoue, Tyus Bowser, Pernell McPhee, and Jihad Ward, or they could opt for fresh faces. One potential free agent option is Haason Reddick of the Cardinals.
Arizona drafted Reddick out of Temple with the 13th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The first three years of Reddick’s career were a disappointment, totaling only 7.5 sacks and bouncing between different positions. The Cardinals declined to pick up Reddick’s fifth-year option, which may have been a mistake in hindsight. Reddick went on to have a career year with 12.5 sacks in 2020, although five came in one game against the Giants.
Reddick may not break the bank in the same way other top edge rushers might on the open market, but he will still cost a pretty penny. Currently, spotrac.com has calculated Reddick’s market value at four years for $46.7 million with an average annual salary of $11.6 million.
Teams will have to hope that Reddick continues his 2020 level of play going forward in order to justify such a contract. Before last season, Arizona struggled deciding where to play Reddick, putting him at inside linebacker, 4-3 outside linebacker, and finally 3-4 outside linebacker, which appears to be his best fit. Reddick’s coverage ability and athleticism make him an ideal SAM linebacker in 3-4 defense like Baltimore’s. Judon and Bowser both played this role effectively for the Ravens during the last several seasons.
Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale thrives off of deception and blitzes, confusing opposing quarterbacks into not knowing which players will rush or drop into coverage. For that reason, Reddick fits Baltimore’s defense like a glove. The biggest question is whether or not Reddick is an upgrade over re-signing Bowser to a potentially cheaper deal. Reddick would also count against the compensatory pick formula, most likely canceling out a compensatory pick that the Ravens would receive in the 2022 draft for either Judon or Ngakoue if they sign elsewhere.