The Baltimore Ravens have a number of players heading into the final year of their rookie contract this season, with one of the most notable being defensive tackle Justin Madubuike.
The Ravens selected the Texas A&M defensive tackle in the third round of the 2020 draft. In his first three seasons in the NFL, Madubuike has flashed disrupting ability against the run and as a pass rusher. Fresh off his best season as a pro, Madubuike now enters his fourth season playing for a new contract, whether with Baltimore or another team.
Madubuike was asked if heading into the final year of his rookie contract added any greater urgency.
“You can make it a bigger deal than it is or you can just put your head down and work hard and I choose to pick that route,” Madubuike said. “Every year is a big year I feel like.”
Madubuike was also asked if there had been any dialogue about an extension.
“Right now I’m not even focused on that, honestly,” Madubuike said. “I’m just trying to just put my head down and work.”
The Ravens will need players such as Madubuike and fellow 2020 draft mate Broderick Washington, as well as second-year defensive tackle Travis Jones, to take their game to another level in order to fill the massive void left on the defensive line by veteran Calais Campbell.
Madubuike has had plenty of dominant reps against the run and as a pass rusher in his career so far, but maintaining a higher level of consistency throughout the season will be key in reaching that next step in his game and securing a lofty second contract after this season.
Madubuike is coming off a career season in his third year, notching 42 total tackles and 5.5 sacks — tied for second most on the team. Through his first three seasons, Madubuike has totaled 97 tackles and 8.5 sacks.