The Baltimore Ravens as a whole don’t have much to play in their regular season finale in Week 18 aside from pride, trying to avoid getting swept by the Pittsburgh Steelers for the third time in the last four years, and playing spoiler for their rivals’ playoff hopes. However, there are three veteran players on the team who have some production-related pay escalators on the line that they could reach with solid to strong outings on Saturday evening.
Most notable of the bunch is former No. 1 overall pick and three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney who only needs half a sack to reach nine on the season and trigger an incentive that would pay him an extra $750,000.
Ravens’ DE Jadeveon Clowney needs a half-sack today vs. the Steelers to reach nine this season and trigger a $750,000 incentive. pic.twitter.com/xZwnGYxPmo— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2024
If the 10th-year veteran records 1.5 sacks, it would set a new career high, mark the first time he’s ever reached double figures in a single season in his career, and give the Ravens two pass rushers with 10-plus sacks for the first time since 2014. Fourth-year defensive tackle Justin Madubuike who leads the team with a career-high 13 sacks. The last pairing to accomplish the impressive feat were outside linebackers Terrell Suggs with 12 and Elvis Dumervil with a career-high 17.
Highest-graded defensive players during the Ravens' six-game win streak— PFF BAL Ravens (@PFF_Ravens) January 3, 2024
Jadeveon Clowney - 86.7
Patrick Queen - 86.3
Kyle Hamilton - 85.3
Kyle Van Noy - 77.1
Justin Madubuike - 77.0
With 58 receiving yards, ninth-year veteran wide receiver Nelson Agholor would finish the season with 400 which would trigger an incentive worth $250,000 and an additional $500,000 in incentives if he hauls in 10 more catches to reach 40 this season. The former first-rounder has been an integral piece to the Ravens’ offense this season and even though his stats aren’t prolific he has managed to haul in four touchdowns in the first 16 games which is tied for the second-most he’s recorded in a single season during his career.
With three-time Pro Bowl wideout Odell Beckham Jr. already ruled out and first-round rookie standout Zay Flowers unlikely to play much if at all, Agholor has a chance to reach one if not both incentives if the Ravens funnel some quick screens or jet sweep shovel passes to him in addition to targeting him over the middle and downfield.
Fifth-year veteran running back Justice Hill also has a hefty pay bump tied to big performance. If he rushes for 113 yards, it would bring his total on the season to 500 and trigger an incentive of $250,000.
Ravens’ RB Justice Hill needs 113 rushing yards today vs. the Steelers to reach 500 this season and trigger a $250,000 incentive. https://t.co/zdd3ZhFnTJ— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 6, 2024
It would also mark both a season and career-high single-game total for Hill who has yet to record more than 60 rushing yards in 58 career regular season games since entering the league as a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma State University in 2019. With sixth-year veteran Gus Edwards unlikely to get a heavy workload, Hill and two-time Pro Bowl veteran Melvin Gordon will likely be the main ball carriers for the Ravens against the Steelers. While the team won’t want to run him into the ground for the sake of an incentive, if Hill could rip off some big plays, he wouldn’t need an abundance of carries to cash in.
Although he can’t make any additional money with a big performance this season, fourth-year quarterback Tyler Huntley could position himself to receive a sizable payday come March. The pending unrestricted free agent has already established himself as one of the best backups in the league and could parlay a strong outing into being a highly sought-after bridge quarterback or upgrade for a team at their backup spot given the record number of reserves on contending and noncontending teams alike that were thrust into action this season.