Tavon Young was one of the better mid-round picks of the 2016 NFL Draft, a slightly undersized cornerback drafted by the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn’t long before he took over the nickel cornerback job and then was even given one of the two starting spots, opposite Jimmy Smith.
Young intercepted two passes and had eight passes defensed that year, but he suffered a torn ACL during the following offseason and missed all of 2017. He was able to return last year, starting six of 15 games played in as the nickel defender, where he registered an interception and five passes defensed. He also recovered three fumbles, two of which he actually returned for touchdowns, adding two sacks on top of the rest of his work.
As he heads into the final deal of his rookie contract, the Ravens have decided, under new General Manager Eric DeCosta, that they don’t want to see him get away. The team is shortly expected to announce a new three-year contract extension for the 24-year old that will tie him to the Ravens through the 2022 season. He himself left the cat out of the bag on Twitter.
Extremely blessed and thankful to continue my career as a Baltimore Raven, Thanks to everyone in the @Ravens organization and teammates Let’s workkkkkkk!!
— Tavon Young (@NLtyoung) February 21, 2019
The three-year extension is reportedly worth $25.8 million, with a max of $29 million, which would qualify him as the highest-paid nickel defender in the NFL. That just goes to show how fundamentally important the role has become in recent years.
The Ravens still have Smith, and 2017’s first-round pick Marlon Humphrey is becoming a strong cornerback as well. They also have David Carr, who had a good bounceback season after being a bit shaky at times during his first season in Baltimore.
So they have a pretty deep and skilled group at the cornerback position, in addition to the safety pairing of Eric Weddle and Tony Jefferson, though it’s still as yet unclear if Weddle may be a salary cap casualty. DeCosta has suggested that they want to make sure that doesn’t happen, but Weddle is prepared for the possibility.
DeCosta, who of course was Ozzie Newsome’s long-time protégé, made it clear in his first public comments since succeeding into the role of general manager that one of his top priorities, and guiding principles, would be to keep their young talent around.
That is something Newsome didn’t always do, as attested to by the fact that they have received more compensatory picks over the years than anybody else, which you only get when you lose talent. The early extension for Young—even before free agency starts—is an indication of the manner in which DeCosta wants to run the show in a slight deviation from his mentor.