While there is rightfully a lot of talk surrounding the Baltimore Ravens and the contract situation with fourth-year quarterback Lamar Jackson—this is typically the point in time in which young quarterbacks are getting their big extensions if they have established themselves as a franchise piece, as Patrick Mahomes did a year earlier—there are other contracts that need to be considered.
That includes Jackson’s favorite target, Mark Andrews, who was taken in the same draft class as him two round later. The fourth-year tight end already has a Pro Bowl on his resume for the 2019 season, when he caught 64 passes for 852 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also went 58 for 701 this past season with another seven touchdowns, so that’s not exactly a regression.
“We are a tight end-centric offense, and Mark Andrews, in my opinion, is one of the better tight ends in the entire NFL”, general manager Eric DeCosta said at the end of the Ravens’ 2020 season following their postseason loss, when asked about the tight end’s contract status.
“He’s a Pro Bowl tight end, in my opinion. So, we would be foolish to not want to try and keep him”, he went on, earlier referencing his earliest remarks after taking over as general manager in stating that it was his mission to keep as many good young players around as possible—which he has largely done. “Those discussions will start up at some point. Hopefully, we can make progress and get some deals done”.
The good news for him, and for Baltimore, is that it’s not a critical situation right now. Andrews still has one year on his contract, and as they have shown on a number of occasions in recent years, they will not hesitate to negotiate contracts during the season. They signed left tackle Ronnie Stanley to a five-year, nearly $100 million extension in October—shortly before he tore his ACL, but nevertheless…
Andrews certainly deserves to get paid, as he is arguably a top-five receiving tight end whom Jackson frankly relies upon, and one also has to weigh his production against the fact that the Ravens are the least prolific passing offense in the NFL in terms of attempts. On top of that, he is also a more than credible blocker.
While it might be difficult for some fans to ‘like’ players on a rival team, I consider Andrews an easy guy to root for, and someone I’d love to see in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, I expect him to be in Baltimore for many, many years, the way Todd Heap was. He’s a good ‘un. Respect where it’s due. Pay the man (preferably $20 million a year…wink wink).