Skip to main content
Presented by

Late for Work: Pundits Believe Kevin Zeitler Unlikely to Return to Ravens After Not Having Deal Extended

G Kevin Zeitler
G Kevin Zeitler

Pundits Believe Kevin Zeitler Unlikely to Return to Ravens After Not Having Deal Extended

Veteran guard Kevin Zeitler has been a stalwart on the offensive line during his three seasons with the Ravens, but the chances of him returning to Baltimore next season have taken a hit.

The Ravens did not sign Zeitler to an extension before yesterday's deadline, meaning his deal is voided and he will become a free agent. The same is true for running back Gus Edwards, safety Geno Stone and cornerback Rock-Ya Sin.

By not extending them, the Ravens will reportedly have approximately $8.5 million in dead money on the 2024 salary cap.

There's a chance the Ravens could still re-sign some or all of them, but it seems especially unlikely in Zeitler's case given the cap ramifications.

Zeitler's contract accounts for $4 million in dead money next season. If the Ravens re-sign him, the team will absorb both the dead money from the void years and the cost of the new contract, which figures to be prohibitive.

"Zeitler was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his 12-year career and was a dependable performer on an offensive line that has another free agent in left guard John Simpson and two aging, injury-prone tackles in Ronnie Stanley and Morgan Moses," The Baltimore Sun’s Brian Wacker wrote. "But he also dealt with knee and quad injuries last season, will turn 34 next month, and with his contract accounting for $4 million in dead money next season, bringing him back later wouldn't add up."

If solidifying the offensive line wasn't already the Ravens' top priority this offseason, it certainly is now, according to The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec.

Regarding Edwards, Zrebiec noted that there will be several quality veteran running backs available in free agency, so the Ravens likely want to keep their options open.

Edwards, who turns 29 in April, will carry a $1.8 million cap hit in 2024. He ran for career-highs of 810 yards and 13 touchdowns this past season, but his 4.1 yards per carry were a career-low by nearly a full yard and he fumbled a career-high three times.

"A lot of his scores came from close to the goal line and his touches dwindled late in the year, including in the postseason when he had just 13 carries in two playoff games," Wacker wrote.

As for Stone and Ya-Sin, Wacker said there are different reasons why they might not be back.

"Stone, 24, was second in the NFL with seven interceptions and put together the best season of his career," Wacker wrote. "But Baltimore already has two starting safeties in Marcus Williams and All-Pro Kyle Hamilton, and Stone's performance is likely to land him a much bigger payday, along with a starting role, elsewhere.

"Ya-Sin, meanwhile, signed with the Ravens in May to replace the departed Marcus Peters. But the 27-year-old suffered a knee injury in training camp and was outplayed by others, specifically Ronald Darby and Arthur Maulet. They, too, are free agents and would almost certainly be prioritized ahead of Ya-Sin should the Ravens re-sign any of them."

Pundit Says Ravens Would Be Wise to Use Franchise Tag on Justin Madubuike

The two-week window to use the franchise tag begins today, and the top candidate for the Ravens is Justin Madubuike.

The Baltimore Banner's Jonas Shaffer said the decision to apply the tag to the All-Pro defensive tackle should be an easy one.

"With an estimated 2024 price tag of $21 million, it would likely be the most expensive move of their offseason. It would also be the wisest," Shaffer wrote. "Scarcity creates urgency, and the Ravens, in their ongoing Super Bowl quest, do not have either the time to find Madubuike's replacement or any assurance that he can be capably replaced."

Shaffer noted that tagging Madubuike wouldn't guarantee his return.

"If the Ravens use the nonexclusive tag, as expected, interested teams could still present him an offer sheet," Shaffer wrote. "But the cost of doing business with a tagged player is usually prohibitive: The Ravens would have the right to match any offer, and if not, they'd receive a pair of first-round picks from the team that signed Madubuike."

The Ravens and Madubuike engaged in talks about a contract extension last offseason but could not reach an agreement. After Madubuike's breakout 2023 season, Pro Football Focus projected his next contract to be worth an estimated $92 million ($23 million annually).

"As the Ravens' drawn-out negotiations with quarterback Lamar Jackson proved last offseason, there is value in keeping contract discussions alive," Shaffer wrote. "And there is value in making Madubuike one of the NFL's best-paid defensive linemen, if only for one more year in Baltimore."

Ravens Named Best Fit for Chase Young

A player the Ravens reportedly pursued at the trade deadline last year was EDGE Chase Young, who ended up being sent to the San Francisco 49ers from the Washington Commanders.

Young is ranked as the 15th-best free agent by ESPN's Matt Bowen, who named the Ravens as the best fit for the 24-year-old.

"I could see Young signing a one-year deal to play in Baltimore," Bowen wrote. "He had 7.5 total sacks with Washington and San Francisco during the 2023 regular season, and he added a sack and two pressures in the Super Bowl. He has the physical traits to fit as an edge in a Baltimore defense that should deploy multiple fronts and schemed one-on-ones under new coordinator Zach Orr."

Quick Hits

Related Content