The Baltimore Ravens finished with the NFL's best regular season record in 2019 (14-2) with a league-high 12 Pro Bowl selections and set a franchise record with five First-Team All-Pros. While Baltimore bowed out in the divisional round of the playoffs, the Ravens have plenty of reasons to be optimistic for the future.
Franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson is on his rookie deal, allowing the Ravens to build around the 2019 NFL MVP before they have to pay him a life-changing deal. The Ravens have $9,151,091 in available salary cap space for the 2020 season (per Over The Cap) and an astonishing $65,958,094 available for the 2021 offseason. General manager Eric DeCosta deserves plenty of praise for setting the franchise up to win in 2020 and the years to come, as the Ravens possess some of the best salary cap bargains in the NFL.
Let's take a look at Baltimore's biggest salary cap bargains for the 2020 season and rank the best, even though the first one is way too obvious:
1. Lamar Jackson
This may be the best contract bargain in the entire National Football League, just based off how dominant Jackson was in just his second season in the NFL. Jackson is entering the third year of his rookie deal and only has a cap number of $2,583,178 in 2020. No wonder the Ravens' Super Bowl window is the highest it's ever been in the 24-year history of the franchise.
Jackson became the first quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in a single season. He also had the most rushing yards by a QB in a season in NFL history (1,206), leading the league with 6.9 yards per carry and finishing with seven touchdowns. Jackson led the NFL in touchdown passes (36) and touchdown percentage (9.0) and his 43 total touchdowns also led the league.
All this for the 30th-highest paid quarterback in the game. Applause is in order for the Ravens.
2. Mark Andrews
Pretty impressive Andrews' contract isn't even the biggest bargain on the Ravens, since he's only Jackson's top pass-catching target. Andrews, a 2018 third-round pick, is only on the third year of his rookie deal and has a cap number of just $959,165 this season.
Andrews emerged as one of the best receiving tight ends in the game last season, ranking first in touchdown catches (10), fifth in receiving yards (852) and seventh in receptions (64). His 13.31 yards per catch led all tight ends that finished with over 60 receptions. Not bad for a player that doesn't turn 24 years old until September.
The Ravens will have to pay Andrews if he has another big year, but they'll settle for him being the 61st-highest paid tight end in the game this year.
Stanley may be playing on the fifth-year option in 2020, but the 2016 first-round pick is worth so much more than he's getting paid. Per Pro Football Focus, Stanley was the only tackle that finished with a pass-blocking grade above 90 last season and was first in the league with a pressure rate of 1.3%. The Ravens were a predominantly run-first offense, but Stanley did an excellent job in keeping Jackson upright -- not allowing a sack the entire year.
Let's not forget the Ravens set the NFL record for rushing yards in a season (3,296), the product of an offensive line anchored by Stanley, a First Team All-Pro in 2019.
Stanley is making $12.866 million in 2020, only the 11th-highest paid left tackle in the NFL. Quite a deal for the Ravens, even if he takes up 6.5% of the available cap space.
Humphrey is already one of the game's underrated cornerbacks, but he's also grossly underpaid. All Humphrey did in 2019 was finish with three interceptions, 14 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, and recovered three fumbles (two of which were returned for touchdowns) in a First-Team All-Pro season.
Opposing quarterbacks didn't have much of a chance targeting Humphrey, having just a 68.4 passer rating when throwing in his direction. Humphrey allowed just 8.6 yards per completion (51 catches, 440 yards) and three touchdowns, emerging as one of the NFL's best young cornerbacks.
The 2017 first-round pick has a cap number of just $3,769,653 in 2020, the final year of his original rookie contract (Baltimore picked up his fifth-year option for 2021). Humphrey is the 39th-highest paid cornerback in the league.
The Ravens had Brown fall to them in the third round of the 2018 draft, and the right tackle has proven his combine disaster is a thing of the past. Per Pro Football Focus, Brown ranked in the top 10 in tackles in the NFL in pass-blocking performance. Brown allowed just three sacks and committed three penalties, clearly showcasing improvement after an up-and-down rookie season.
Entering the third year of his rookie deal, Brown has a cap number of $966,430 in 2020. Just 24 years old, Brown is the 37th-highest paid right tackle in the NFL and forms a top-3 tackle combination in the league with Stanley.