Ravens decline linebacker Patrick Queen’s fifth-year option, making him a free agent after 2023 season

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta declined to discuss linebacker Patrick Queen’s fifth-year option during the NFL last week, but by Monday the team had made up its mind.

Baltimore is declining Queen’s option, his agent confirmed to The Baltimore Sun, meaning that the 23-year-old will be a free agent after this season.

The Ravens had until Tuesday to make a decision on the option, which would have cost $12.77 million.

With $100 million already tied up in fellow linebacker Roquan Smith, who will carry a $9 million cap hit this year, $13.5 million in 2024, $22.5 million in 2025 and $27.5 million in 2026 and 2027, that would have tied up a lot of money for two linebackers.

“Patrick is, in my mind, one of the better [inside] linebackers in the league,” DeCosta said Friday. “He’s smart, he works his butt off, he has a bright future. I think he’s a Pro Bowl linebacker in the making.”

It just won’t be with the Ravens beyond this season.

The decision was not a surprise, particularly after the Ravens drafted Clemson inside linebacker Trenton Simpson in the third round of the NFL draft on Saturday. He is a similar player to Queen, and now it appears he’ll be his eventual replacement.

“In Trenton, we get a guy that was honestly the very best player available at the time,” DeCosta said. “That’s our philosophy; that’s how we build our team. The fact that he’s an outstanding special teams player factored in because that transcends positional defensive football. That guy’s going to be on the field for us helping us win games, and that’s a huge thing for us. We love his mentality, we love his background, his family and it was an easy pick for us to make.”

Still, eventually losing Queen could be a blow. Over the past three seasons, he has steadily improved, with his Pro Football Focus grade going from 29.7 his rookie year in 2020, to 43.5 in 2021, to 70 last season after a career-best 117 tackles.

But Queen lost his inside linebacker spot in 2021 and was moved to the weak side, and he played about five defensive snaps per game fewer than he did as a rookie. Last season, however, he formed a dangerous duo alongside Smith after the latter arrived in Baltimore after a midseason trade.

This story will be updated.


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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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