The Pittsburgh Steelers have a strict but informal policy of not negotiating contracts with players in the middle of a season. It’s something that they once did in the past, but found that it led to more issues than productive negotiations, and jealousy among players with whom negotiations were not taking place.
The Baltimore Ravens certainly do not have this policy. In fact, I’m not sure there is a team in the league that does more in-season negotiations with players. Just last season, for example, after acquiring Marcus Peters via trade in the middle of the year, they signed him to a contract extension several weeks later. His was not the only example.
This year, the Ravens have already been active, and in a big way. They just completed a new five-year contract extension with All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey, a five-year deal reportedly worth a total of $98.75 million in new money.
Humphrey, a first-round draft pick out of Alabama in 2017, is already under contract for the 2021 season via the fifth-year option. With the new extension, Baltimore now controls his rights through the 2026 season. Peters is also under contract through 2022, so they have their starting cornerback tandem in place for the next three-plus years.
While all the details of the deal are not yet out, it is said to include $67 million in total guarantees, which includes guarantees for injury, rather than fully guaranteed money. He is slated to earn $37 million by the time the new league year begins in 2021, or shortly thereafter.
Humphrey’s deal is just the latest among cornerbacks, with other notable players at the position signing significant new deals consisting of Darius Slay, Byron Jones, Tre’Davious White, and Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is now earning $20 million per season in new money. Humphrey’s deal comes in just under that in new money. Peters, by contrast, is earning an average of $14 million per season, which is now tied for the ninth-highest average annual salary at the position.
Through the first 49 games of his career, Humphrey has recorded 150 tackles with eight interceptions, four forced fumbles, and three fumble recoveries, and two defensive touchdowns. He perhaps most notable forced a fumble against JuJu Smith-Schuster in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers in week five last season.
So far this season, through three games, he has picked up 10 tackles, including his first half-sack of his career. He also has an interception and a forced fumble, with four passes defensed. And he will be playing for the Ravens until he is at least 30 years old, as he is currently 24.