Ravens hopeful huge investment on defense pays off

Todd Karpovich

The Ravens have invested $83.6 million on their defense, second-most in the NFL behind the Denver Broncos, according to OvertheCap.

Baltimore has traditionally been know for its fierceness with attacking opponents and the team has gotten back to those roots. Six of the Ravens' seven highest-paid players are on the defensive side of the ball. 

The team is going to need key contributions from these playmakers this season with games against Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry and Cowboys receiver Amari Cooper, among others. 

The Ravens were ranked fourth in the NFL, allowing 300.6 yards per game last season. They allowed 17.6 points per game, which was ranked third.

General manager Eric DeCosta further boosted the defense this offseason. 

First, he acquired Calais Campbell from the Jacksonville Jaguars in March in exchange for a 2020 fifth-round pick. Campbell signed a one-year extension worth up to $27 million over the next two seasons.

Baltimore then signed free-agent defensive end Derek Wolfe to a one-year deal that includes $3 million in guaranteed money, with $3 million in incentives.

DeCosta used five of the team's 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft on defensive players, including LSU linebacker Patrick Queen, who was the 28th overall pick and is expected to make an immediate impact. 

The Ravens should have one of the best defenses in the NFL, considering their talent and depth at almost every position. The key now is to overcome a tumultuous offseason because of the ongoing challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re definitely ready to hit the ground running," defensive coordinator Don Martindale said. "We were talking the other day as a defensive staff, and if you just took the transcripts from OTAs last year, and then our Zoom meetings this year, you couldn’t tell the difference." 

NFL Positional Spending: Defense

1. Denver Broncos: $100.4 million

2. Baltimore Ravens: $83.6 million

3. Chicago Bears: $81.7 million

4. Arizona Cardinals: $81.1 million

5. Miami Dolphins: $78.6 million

Ravens Highest-Paid Players (Base Salary)

1. Linebacker Matt Judon: $16..8 million

2. Left tackle Ronnie Stanley: $12.9 million

3. Cornerback Marcus Peters: $10 million

4. Safety Earl Thomas: $10 million

5. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams: $9.3 million

6. Cornerback Tavon Young: $5.5 million 

7. Defensive end Calais Campbell: $5 million