By Chris Schisler
Gus Edwards is staying in Baltimore. According to a report by Adam Schefter of ESPN, Edwards has signed a two-year contract extension with the Ravens. It’s a $10 million contract that prevents the Ravens from seeing one of their most productive players leaving in free agency.
The Ravens now have Edwards through the 2023 season. J.K. Dobbins was drafted in 2020, meaning his rookie contract ends after 2023. Here’s what the Ravens just did.
They locked up one of the best running back combinations in the NFL. After 2023 they’ll re-sign one of these two backs and they’ll draft another one. It’s team-building done right. The Ravens rewarded one of their most consistent players and the price works for the team.
There’s no analysis needed of the contract. Putting it simply, it’s an obvious win-win situation.
That’s business, now let’s talk Gus Edwards and his legacy
Edwards has a real chance to build a legacy with the Ravens. When you look at the running back spot for Baltimore, Jamal Lewis and Ray Rice were the only two with any real staying power. Edwards is entering his fourth year with the Ravens. Assuming he plays the final two years of his contract here, that would be six seasons.
Since the 2018 season, no team has come even close to putting up the kinds of numbers the Ravens produce on the ground. While Lamar Jackson is the main catalyst for that, Edwards has been a huge part of everything. Edwards has had three straight seasons where he’s had over 700 yards rushing.
He had 723 yards in 2018 averaging five yards per carry. In 2019 he had 711 yards averaging 5.3 yards per carry. In 2018 he had 718 yards with 5.2 yards per carry. It’s a little cliche but with Edwards, you know exactly what you’re going to get. You’re looking at somewhere around 130-140 attempts, 700 plus yards and getting halfway to a first down as his average rushing attempt.
Imagine if Edwards keeps that kind of production going. Or perhaps he has a monster season in the works. Edwards is only 26 years old. That’ the sweet spot for running backs.
If Edwards stays healthy the Ravens shouldn’t expect a dip in performance until he’s 29 or 30. You know what? That’s when he’s set to become a free agent. I know we’re talking about Edwards here, but can we stop and give a standing ovation to Eric DeCosta here? Again, this is team-building done right, with a plan.
The Bottom Line:
Edwards has a chance to be remembered as one of the best Ravens of all-time. You can already make a case that he’s the third best running back for the franchise. I’ve always considered Willis McGahee as the number three all-time running back for the Ravens, though the argument for Edwards being at that spot is getting stronger and stronger.
Running backs may be a dime a dozen, but there aren’t a lot of Gus Edwards out there. The staying power of Edwards is very impressive. Justin Forsett had one strong year with the Ravens. Priest Holmes had four years with the Ravens. Let’s see, Chester Taylor was here for four years. The point is the list of Ravens who stuck around for a good stretch is actually fairly short.
Look at Mark Ingram. He had two years with the Ravens and really just one strong season. Look at guys like Alex Collins, Terrance West, and Buck Allen. There was a point where the Ravens were going through running backs at a clip that could only be rivaled by the number of coaches the Browns went through.
Edwards has a chance to build a legacy. He’ll always be a fan favorite, he’s got his home and it’s with the Ravens. He deserves it. All aboard the Gus Bus!