One of the biggest questions for the Ravens this offseason was whether or not they would re-sign veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell. Arguably the team’s biggest unrestricted free agent, Campbell had expressed interest in returning to Baltimore and had been in regular contact with General Manger Eric DeCosta since last month.
However, it’s been a waiting game to see what the six-time Pro Bowler would do, and with plenty of other suitors available, there was no guarantee that him re-signing with the Ravens was in the cards.
Thanks to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ravens fans everywhere can breathe a collective sign of relief. Schefter reported early on Saturday that Campbell and the Ravens have agreed to a two-year contract:
Free-agent DE Calais Campbell, a six-time Pro-Bowl selection, is returning to Baltimore on a two-year deal, per source. The 35-year-old Campbell has spent the past two seasons in Baltimore and now is expected to finish his NFL career there.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 9, 2022
CBS’ Sports Josina Anderson added the deal includes $6 million guaranteed and has a maximum value of $16.5 million, and Campbell told her he feels there is “unfinished business” in Baltimore:
On the phone now with DE Calais Campbell who tells me he is returning to Baltimore on 2-year deal: "Yes, it was completed yesterday. It just felt like the right move. I feel like we started something special and we have unfinished business there." Source says max value is $16.5M.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 9, 2022
A source also tells me that Calais Campbell had interest from other teams: the #Colts, the #Browns and the #Chiefs. However, the #Ravens were the most aggressive in getting it done now and in bringing Campbell home. @AdamSchefter was first to report the agreement.— IG: JosinaAnderson (@JosinaAnderson) April 9, 2022
The Ravens originally acquired Campbell via a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars ahead of the 2020 season. It only cost a 2020 fifth-round pick for the Ravens to get him, and they quickly signed him to a contract extension. The value they’ve gotten from Campbell over the past two seasons has proven to be well worth the price of admission.
Campbell has been one of the team’s most consistent defensive players. He’s totaled 77 combined tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 22 quarterback hits, 5.5 sacks and 29 pressures in 2020 and 2021 together. His stats have declined relative to his prime years in Arizona and Jacksonville, but Campbell’s impact goes far beyond the box score.
The 35-year-old is still one of the league’s best run defenders today and his 2021 PFF grade of 80.5 ranked No. 8 among all qualified defensive lineman. Campbell has toughed out a couple of injuries over the past two years, too, and played 412 defensive snaps in 2020 and 617 this past season despite missing a handful of games.
He’s also played over 200 total snaps on special teams and is a key leader and veteran locker room presence. This is all the more important with the Ravens likely to lose some tenured defensive players in Jimmy Smith, Brandon Williams, and Pernell McPhee.
Re-signing Campbell is a significant domino for the Ravens. They’ll still likely target the position group at some point in the draft, with the aim of getting younger talent on the depth chart, but having Campbell back in the fold is a big boost.
The veteran will return to his spot in the starting lineup, now alongside the recently-signed Michael Pierce at nose tackle. The depth chart still features rising third-year players Justin Madubuike and Broderick Washington, as well as Derek Wolfe, who is returning from offseason hip surgery.
Campbell is now the third incumbent free agent the Ravens have re-signed, joining fullback Patrick Ricard and inside linebacker Josh Bynes — who the team just retained yesterday.
The first-year cap number on Calais Campbell's 2-year, $12.5 million deal is $3.56 million. Ravens had roughly $7 million of cap space as of yesterday. After agreeing to terms with Bynes Friday and Campbell today, Ravens will need to start making some moves to free up cap space— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) April 9, 2022