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Late for Work: Patrick Queen Would Be Steelers' 'Ultimate Luxury Signing'

ILB Patrick Queen
ILB Patrick Queen

Patrick Queen Would Be Steelers' 'Ultimate Luxury Signing'

With Justin Madubuike receiving the franchise tag, inside linebacker Patrick Queen is now the Ravens' top pending free agent.

Re-signing Queen is possible but unlikely given the Ravens' salary-cap constraints and the team's $100 million investment in inside linebacker Roquan Smith. Spotrac estimates Queen's market value at $18.5 million per season.

So, if Queen does indeed leave Baltimore, where could the 2020 first-round pick end up?

A player as talented as Queen should have no shortage of suitors. Several teams are being linked to the Pro Bowler, one of which is the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Athletic's Mark Kaboly said Queen would be the Steelers' "ultimate luxury signing."

"While it might seem far-fetched, never say never with [Steelers General Manager] Omar Khan," Kaboly wrote. "The Steelers have struggled to find a reliable inside linebacker since Ryan Shazier's injury in 2017, and Queen would be a perfect fit. With Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander coming off serious injuries (Alexander is also a free agent) and Mark Robinson struggling to take the step from special teamer to starter, the need is clear. Queen has never missed a game in his career and has averaged 114 tackles per season."

Several pundits have speculated that Queen could end up in Seattle, which is logical since former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald is the Seahawks' new head coach.

Seahawks off-ball linebackers Bobby Wagner and Jordyn Brooks are pending free agents. Brooks was selected 27th overall in 2020 (one spot ahead of Queen), but CBS Sports salary cap expert Joel Corry said Queen is a better fit for Seattle under Macdonald.

"I'm sending Patrick Queen here," Corry told Seattle Sports. "If you're going to pay a linebacker, pay him. You know what he can do in this system. No offense to Jordyn Brooks, and [Queen will] probably cost more, but that one makes sense to me: Patrick Queen as a Seahawk."

The Houston Texans reportedly also have their sights set on Queen. ESPN’s DJ Bien-Aime said "there's some interest between the two parties."

On a side note,’s Kevin Patra included Queen on his list of free agents who could be overpriced.

"Did Queen, who just made his first Pro Bowl, mature into a better player? Or did the scheme — and playing next to Roquan Smith — simply put him in a premium position to break out?" Patra asked. "That's the issue front offices in the linebacker market must parse out. If Queen joins former Ravens DC Mike Macdonald on the LB-needy Seahawks, I'll be more confident in his upward trajectory continuing. Barring that, however, consider me skeptical. Queen can be an athletic playmaker, but I'd rather roll with a cheaper FA option like Drue Tranquill or Azeez Al-Shaair if I'm in the market for an off-ball linebacker."

Why Saquon Barkley, Josh Jacobs, and Derrick Henry Would (and Wouldn't) Be Good Fits

The Ravens are expected to be in the market for a starting caliber running back, and there is a plethora of accomplished veterans set to hit free agency.

The Baltimore Banner's Jonas Shaffer looked at nine pending free agent running backs and how each would (and wouldn't) fit with the Ravens.

Here's what Shaffer had to say about the three biggest names on the list (with projected contracts by Pro Football Focus):

Saquon Barkley

Projected contract: $12 million annually (three years, $36 million)

Why he'd fit: "Behind one of the NFL's worst offensive lines, Barkley quietly turned into one of the league's most efficient runners over the past two seasons. Only two qualifying running backs averaged at least 0.4 rushing yards over expected per carry in both 2022 and 2023, according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats: the Kansas City Chiefs' Isiah Pacheco and Barkley. The 27-year-old also has value in the passing game, where he can be a high-volume target (139 catches over the past three years) and a reliable pass blocker."

Why he wouldn't:"Do the Ravens really want to pay a premium for a ball carrier with questionable explosive-play potential? Barkley's best big-play season came in 2022, when he ranked 14th in explosive-run rate (carries of at least 12 yards) among the 42 running backs with at least 100 carries that year, according to TruMedia. Last year, Barkley ranked 25th. There's also the possibility of a looming performance cliff; in 2021, PFF found that running backs tend to fall off once they hit 1,500 carries and have played five to seven years in the NFL. Barkley has 1,201 career carries and is entering Year 7."

Josh Jacobs

Projected contract: $11 million annually (three years, $33 million)

Why he'd fit:"Two years ago, Jacobs earned first-team All-Pro honors after rushing for an NFL-best 1,653 yards. His 400 receiving yards in 2022, meanwhile, are more than any Ravens running back under John Harbaugh has finished with in a single season — besides Ray Rice. Jacobs, 26, has pedigree (first-round pick in 2019), durability (at least 200 carries in five straight seasons) and solid ball security (145 rushes per fumble over his career)."

Why he wouldn't:"In 2022, with defenses largely unwilling to drop a safety into the box and leave star Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams on an island, Jacobs saw a lot of light boxes — and punished them accordingly. He led the NFL with 105 carries against six or fewer defenders, according to TruMedia, and finished with a solid 5.4 yards per carry and 48.6% success rate in those scenarios. Last season, Jacobs saw fewer light boxes — and was far less effective: 3.9 yards per carry and a run-of-the-mill 37.5% success rate. It's hard to imagine the Ravens splurging on a running back with just one recent elite season."

Derrick Henry

Projected contract: $9 million annually (two years, $18 million)

Why he'd fit:"His arrival would give the Ravens a nightmare-fueling backfield, pairing one of the NFL's most elusive quarterbacks with one of its most imposing running backs. Henry, even in his age-29 season, made the most of suboptimal circumstances last season. Among 49 qualifying running backs, he ranked 44th in yards before contact per rush (0.85) — no thanks to the Titans' dismal offensive line — but eighth in yards after contact per rush (3.32), according to TruMedia. The Ravens saw heavy boxes (eight or more defenders) on just over a third of their carries last season, near the league average; Henry saw them on over half of his carries, one of the NFL's highest rates. Jackson's gravitational pull on run defenses, along with the Ravens' outside weapons, could set Henry up for a huge season."

Why he wouldn't:"Henry has missed more than one game in a season just once over his eight years in the NFL, but his downhill running style and age invite questions about how quickly his durability and elusiveness might evaporate. There's also the question of schematic fit. Henry averaged 5.1 yards per carry over the past two seasons out of the shotgun — the two most shotgun-heavy seasons of his career, according to Sports Info Solutions — but he spent much of his Tennessee career lining up in under-center formations. Former Titans teammate Taylor Lewan also said recently on his 'Bussin' With The Boys' podcast that Henry wasn't a fan of read-option and run-pass-option plays. Would he be comfortable in the Ravens' shotgun- and pistol-heavy offense, with its menu of options and RPOs?"

Which Ravens Free Agents Are Most Likely to Return?

The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec looked at the Ravens' 22 pending free agents and predicted whether they will stay or go.

Not surprisingly, Zrebiec has more than two-thirds of them signing elsewhere, including Queen, Odell Beckham Jr., J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Geno Stone, Kyle Van Noy, and Kevin Zeitler.

Here's a look at some of the players he believes will be back in Baltimore in 2024:

OLB Jadeveon Clowney

"The Ravens want Clowney back, and by all accounts, he wants to be back. He had one of the best years of his career after joining the team halfway through training camp. But it seems unlikely that he'll give Baltimore another huge discount after outplaying his one-year, $2.5 million deal. In recent off-seasons, the Ravens have avoided spending significant money on veteran free-agent edge rushers — and they don't really have the cap flexibility to do it this year. Clowney easily could get an offer that the Ravens don't feel positioned to match. But if both sides want it to happen, there is a deal to be made."

CB Ronald Darby

"One of the more unheralded players on the team, Darby stepped in for the injured Marlon Humphrey and played well, showing no effects from the knee injury that ended his 2022 season. He'd be a strong re-signing for the cornerback-needy Ravens. But this is not a particularly strong free-agent cornerback class and Darby could potentially get bigger offers elsewhere."

LB Malik Harrison

"The Ravens value Harrison's ability to set the edge as a strong-side linebacker and his versatility to play inside. They like the physicality he brings to the defense and special teams. Baltimore presumably will value him more than 31 other teams."

DL Brent Urban

"Urban loves being a Raven, and the team loves having the affable Canadian around. Unless the Ravens feel Rayshad Nichols is ready to crack the 53-man roster or they use an asset on an interior defensive lineman, re-signing Urban makes sense."

Kyle Hamilton Ranked PFF's 26th-Best Player of 2023

PFF has been counting down the NFL's top 101 players from the 2023 season this week. All-Pro safety Kyle Hamilton landed at No. 26.

"Maybe the most versatile coverage defender in the game today, Hamilton was deployed as Baltimore's defensive answer to matchup weapons on offense," PFF's Sam Monson wrote. "He regularly destroyed anything underneath to his side of the field. He had 40 defensive stops, the second most of any safety this season."

The top 20 will be revealed tomorrow by PFF. In addition to Hamilton, the other Ravens to make the rankings thus far are center Tyler Linderbaum (No. 97), Smith (No. 67), and Madubuike (No. 53).

Quick Hits

  • ESPN identified the highest-paid player at each position. Three Ravens made the list.

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