By Chris Schisler
You have to give a lot of credit to the Baltimore Ravens for getting a deal done with Mark Andrews. Andrews according to the report by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, agreed to a four-year contract extension worth $56 million.
This contract shows that Andrews is one of the core players for the Ravens. He’s the favorite target of Lamar Jackson and a top-five tight end in the NFL. The news was announced on Mark Andrews’s birthday. The timing of this news couldn’t be better. This is one less thing the Ravens have to worry about. Eric DeCosta chose not to let his star tight end even dream of touching the free-agent market.
This makes Andrews the third highest-paid tight end in the NFL. An average of $14 million per season may sound like a lot, though it’s a very fair deal for both parties. Andrews goes into the 2021 season without his contract on his mind. He essentially got paid his market value. While he could have gotten a bigger deal later (We’ve seen that happen before) signing the deal now avoids risking it all together.
The Ravens have a fully established group of core players. They’ve signed Marlon Humphrey, Ronnie Stanley and now Andrews to extensions. The Ravens even agreed to an extension with Gus Edwards over the offseason. The Ravens are taking care of their top talent and they’re putting young talent around it through the NFL Draft process. Signing Andrews to this deal is further proof that the Ravens understand team building.
Why Mark Andrews is a core player
In three years in the NFL, Andrews has 20 touchdowns and 2,105 yards. He’s been to the Pro Bowl once already, and he’s been statistically consistent. In 2019 he had a career year with 10 touchdowns and 852 yards. In 2020, he still put up seven touchdowns and 701 yards.
While the Ravens still have to come up with a contract extension for their MVP quarterback, this is a move that can’t hurt the franchise’s relationship with Jackson. When you boil it down to the most important fact, you see that Jackson and Andrews are one of the elite combinations in the NFL. Their chemistry is amazing.
Andrews is incredibly important to the Ravens. For a team that was last in the NFL in passing yards a year ago, he may just be the most important player not named Jackson. This year especially, Andrews is needed. The Baltimore Ravens have been banged up at the wide receiver position. As long as Andrews is on the field, Jackson has a receiving option that can make a big play.
Being in sync with Jackson gave him a huge advantage as a rookie in the 2018 season. Remember, Hayden Hurst was the first-round pick and Andrews was a third-round selection. Andrews exceeded expectations. In Jackson’s rookie year, almost all of his big throws down the field went to Andrews. These two stars have grown up in the NFL together.
The Bottom Line
Other than the occasional drop, Andrews is the perfect tight end for the Baltimore Ravens. He’s a huge target who is a matchup nightmare in the middle of the field. He’s the prototype player for his position in a lot of ways and he’s become a better blocker each season. What is the top quality of his game? It’s Andrews’s ability to feel through the defense and find the window.
When a deal like this gets done, it’s a moment for a sigh of relief. It shows the Ravens are committed to building the future around Lamar Jackson. Andrews doesn’t have to worry about free agency and the Ravens don’t have to worry about the franchise tag.
The Ravens didn’t have to overpay Andrews, a player who may not have even reached his full potential. Andrews could have even bigger seasons on the horizon. It’s very possible that we’ll look back at this deal and think the Ravens got a bargain. However you think about it, the Ravens had to make this move. The Ravens absolutely understand that Mark Andrews is a core player.