Just because the Ravens signed Roquan Smith to the biggest inside linebacker contract in NFL history and drafted Trenton Simpson in the third round doesn't mean they don't have big plans for Patrick Queen moving forward.
When joining "The Lounge" podcast this week, General Manager Eric DeCosta said he wants to ink Queen to a contract extension too, if he can.
"People want to jump to conclusions [and say], 'Oh [Simpson] is going to replace Patrick,'" DeCosta said. "I can tell you this. Patrick Queen had a helluva year last year. Patrick Queen is a very talented, in my mind, Pro Bowl-type linebacker. He's going to have a great year this year.
"We want Patrick Queen on this team; we want to keep him on this team. We will, at some point, try to get him signed, hopefully, to an extension if we can."
Queen is entering the final year of his rookie contract because the Ravens declined his fifth-year option, which would have cost $12.7 million in 2024.
"The fifth-year option was something that was more based on business and the salary-cap economics than actually Patrick Queen and his performance and what he does as a player," DeCosta said.
"He's a difference-maker for us. When we had Patrick Queen and Roquan Smith last year over the last half of the season, we had a chance to see how dominant our defense could be."
In a Year 3 breakout, Queen set career highs in tackles (117), sacks (5.0), interceptions (two) and passes defensed (six) last season. That run started before Smith arrived.
Once Smith came from Chicago mid-season, he and Queen combined to give Baltimore arguably the best inside linebacker duo in the NFL. The Ravens defense allowed just 14.7 points per game in the nine regular-season games after Smith came to Baltimore. He and Queen brought out the best in each other.
DeCosta sees that dynamic duo becoming a trio this upcoming season with Simpson chipping in his dynamic blend of athleticism to complement his veteran peers.
"The appealing thing is getting Trenton in here with everything he can do as a blitzer, on third downs, off the edge, his special teams ability," DeCosta said. "It's really just us adding another fast, physical, smart linebacker to the mix and giving us a chance on defense to be the best that we can be."
DeCosta said the Ravens "didn't go into the third round thinking we're going to take Trenton Simpson," but that in a span of about 15 picks in the third round, many of the players they coveted were selected. Simpson was the "last guy up there that we felt was a true, legitimate difference-maker."
"It's never the worst thing to draft the best available player," DeCosta said. "That's what we do here."