BALTIMORE — The Ravens signed All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley to a five-year contract extension Friday, building on their commitment to retaining homegrown talent with a massive deal for one of the team's most important pillars.
Stanley, who was set to become an unrestricted free agent next offseason, agreed to a new deal worth $112.9 million overall through the 2025 season, according to ESPN, including $70.9 million guaranteed. The extension itself is for five years and $98.8 million; the annual value ($19.8 million) is less than that of the three-year, $66 million deal that left tackle Laremy Tunsil signed this offseason with the Houston Texans.
The Ravens' big-money deal for their 2016 first-round pick comes almost a month after their 2017 first-round pick, All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey, also signed a five-year, $98.8 million extension through the 2026 season.
"It's a big plus for us," coach John Harbaugh said in a video conference call Friday. "We're very happy for Ronnie and his family. Well earned, well deserved. And also very happy for the Ravens and for our team, because it makes us stronger for the long haul."
Stanley, who has started 61 of a possible 70 games in his Ravens career, has developed into perhaps the NFL's top offensive tackle and a reliable blindside protector for star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Last season, he was named to his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro team after not allowing a sack, according to Pro Football Focus.
Despite a handful of minor injuries this season, Stanley leads all NFL tackles in pass-block win rate and is fifth in run-block win rate, according to ESPN, which measures how often a lineman can sustain his block for 2.5 seconds or longer.
"We are excited to announce a five-year contract extension with Ronnie Stanley through the 2025 season," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement. "Ronnie is the mainstay on our offensive line. He's a shutdown left tackle who excels on the field and in our community. This is just the beginning for Ronnie, and we could not be happier for him and his family."
Stanley on Friday noted his appreciation for Ravens executive vice president Ozzie Newsome, who as general manager took the Notre Dame standout No. 6 overall despite "people (who) were in his ear trying to persuade him other ways." Like No. 5 overall pick Jalen Ramsey, now a lockdown cornerback with the Los Angeles Rams, Stanley has emerged as one of the 2016 draft's top players.
"I'm very appreciative of the whole organization," Stanley said. "I'm just really happy that I could prove (Newsome) right, prove the organization right and just help this team when our ultimate goal is to win Super Bowls."
As an elite pass blocker and much-improved run blocker, Stanley gives the Ravens schematic flexibility for years to come. With the Jackson-led offense becoming less reliant on its rushing attack this season — nearly half the Ravens' plays have been pass attempts, a change from last year's ground-game dominance — Stanley could become even more valuable.
Especially in the AFC North. The Ravens' game Sunday against the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers is a reminder of the pass-rush terrors that await in the division. Outside linebacker T.J. Watt is a two-time Pro Bowl selection whom the Steelers are almost certain to sign to a long-term deal. Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who leads the NFL with nine sacks, signed an extension through the 2026 season in July.
When the Ravens offensive line has struggled in recent seasons, it's taken the offense with it. In Stanley, they have a cornerstone piece who said in May that, even during the offseason, he can't tolerate inactivity. There was no time for "rest time," advice he learned from former All-Pro center Olin Kreutz.
"It's important to him," Harbaugh said. "He wants to be the best. He cares about it. We've had many conversations about that ... (and) things that you have to do to become as good as he's become. But I think, more than anything, he's really a smart guy. He's a smart guy. He understands the value of hard work, of stacking technique. He really is a technician at what he does. He talks about that all the time. And really, at that position, probably, along with talent, that's the most important thing. So he's pretty special that way."
"I couldn't be prouder of him," center Matt Skura said. "He's worked so hard since getting here, both being in the same (draft) class. It's awesome to see how much he's grown, and just reaping the benefits of that has really been awesome."
Stanley's extension could have significant team-building implications. Had the Ravens been unable to reach a long-term deal with Stanley by mid-March, they likely would have designated him with the franchise tag.
Now, they have that flexibility with other pending free agents, including new arrival Yannick Ngakoue and fellow pass rusher Matthew Judon. Because Ngakoue signed a one-year, $12 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings after the Jacksonville Jaguars had tagged him this offseason, the cost to tag him again would be significantly less than it would be to re-tag Judon, who's earning $16.8 million this season.
More significant, though, is DeCosta's continued investment in homegrown stars. The Ravens have moved quickly in recent years to lock up underappreciated starters such as safety Chuck Clark and tight end Nick Boyle. They've also opened their wallet to retain Pro Bowl players like Stanley, Humphrey, kicker Justin Tucker and fullback Patrick Ricard. Megadeals for stars like Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews could be on the horizon.
Stanley said it mattered that the Ravens have tried to build a culture "from within."
"We all know we're a family here, and I think all of the guys are on the same page of what we're trying to build here in Baltimore, and that's long-term success," he said. "We have a lot of young players that are going to try to get paid in these next couple of years, and I think everyone wants everyone to get theirs and to really just be happy with the commitment that they're getting from the team that they're signing with. We're going to try to keep as many key pieces here as we can."
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