It's widely known the most important position in the NFL is quarterback, but that means the second-most important is the guy who protects the QB's blindside. Good left tackles don't grow on trees and elite ones rarely appear at all, so when a team finally locates the latter, they usually do all they can to make sure he doesn't leave. Such is the case for the Baltimore Ravens in their coming negotiations with Ronnie Stanley, who stands to make a pretty penny in the near future. For his part, Stanley isn't pressed to get the deal done as of yet.
The 26-year-old feels "comfortable" where things stand at the moment, and confident everything will work out in the end.
"When the time comes, it'll come," he said, via ESPN.
The Ravens hoped Stanley would ultimately become one of the best left tackles in the NFL when they made the decision to select him with the sixth-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, after he earned Consensus All-American honors the year before at Notre Dame.
He reached a pinnacle toward that goal in 2019, when he landed honors as both a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro, carving open run lanes for the league's best rushing attack and helped to protect Lamar Jackson in a season that would land the young quarterback honors as league MVP. Stanley has also been mostly durable in his four-year career, which isn't to say he's never had a bout of injury, but that he's been mostly available throughout -- missing no more than three regular season games since 2016 and only one in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
In landing his First-Team All-Pro honor last season, he became the first Ravens' offensive tackle to do so since Jonathan Ogden, who now resides in the Hall of Fame. The expectation is Stanley will be paid handsomely when the time comes.
"I definitely want to get paid my value and what I feel I'm worth," he said. "That part of it is important. But, at the end of the day, I don't think money is the most important thing to me."
"I felt in my heart of hearts this position is one of the top two, three hardest on the field," Stanley said. "For [Tunsil] to get respect like that with how much he got paid made me feel very happy for him, because he deserved it."
Odds are Stanley will surpass the mark set by Tunsil before it's all said and done, as Tunsil did Lane Johnson in Philadelphia and he notes conversations regarding his contract are already two years in the making. He'll enter 2020 on his fifth-year option and free agency in 2021 if he and the Ravens can't work out a deal, but a franchise tag looms if the latter becomes a possible reality.
The two sides are in "no rush" just yet, and seemingly very much on the same page.