Breaking Down Justin Madubuike’s $98 Million Contract with the Ravens

Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike cashed in big today, signed a massive four year, $98 million contract extension with the Ravens that includes $75.5 million in guarantees. Pro Football Talk had the breakdown of the contract and here is how it stacks up in the interior defensive line market.

The $24.5 million per year average value ranks 2nd at the position to only Aaron Donald, who really has never been valued as an interior player by the Rams but in line with the Edge market. The contract is worth $500,000 more per year than Quinnen Williams and $1 million per year more than Jeffery Simmons. Of the top six contracts at the position Madubuike is the only player who was not a first round draft selection and he is one of just two player in the top 10 not selected in the first round.

The guarantees are record setting. The $75.5 million injury guarantee is $9.5 million more than Williams $66 million guarantee. The $48.5 million full guarantee is about $800,000 more than Williams received. The full guarantee is $2.5 million more than Daron Payne received as a franchise player and tops the market of new guaranteed salary. The injury guarantee is $10 million more than Payne’s.

Here is the running cash flow breakdown compared to the top 10 players at the position

PlayerYear 1Year 2Year 3Year 4 ?
Justin Madubuike$31,000,000$53,500,000$75,500,000$98,000,000
Quinnen Williams$32,000,000$48,750,000$70,500,000$96,000,000
Aaron Donald$31,500,000$60,000,000$95,000,000FA
Jeffery Simmons$31,827,000$49,827,000$70,500,000$94,000,000
Dexter Lawrence$31,000,000$48,000,000$68,000,000$90,000,000
Daron Payne$31,010,000$47,020,000$67,590,000$90,000,000
DeForest Buckner$28,000,000$44,000,000$63,750,000$84,000,000
Javon Hargrave$25,015,000$40,750,000$61,500,000$84,000,000
Jonathan Allen$24,000,000$39,500,000$55,000,000$72,000,000
Vita Vea$20,000,000$36,000,000$53,000,000$71,000,000

This is a break in structure from what the Ravens have done with many of their players where the Ravens have often offered massive cash flows in the first year of the contract in return for a discount of sorts on the overall value of the contract. That did not happen here as Madubuike’s first year salary will be tied for 5th at the position and right in line with the market.

In year two we see the bigger shift where he jumps everyone other than Donald. This is a pretty significant jump compared to the other players and in my estimation was driven due to the franchise tag resulting in a $48.6 million payout over two years if applied a second time. The Ravens likely needed to be a certain number over that to make it worthwhile to give up free agency in two years.

He outpaces the non-Donald market by $5 million through 2026 before coming down in 2027 to deliver the final APY. That is a strong structure for the player as they will earn significantly more than their peers through three years and then be in a position to ask for an extension, assuming they continue to play well, before the lower valued year kicks in.  

The guarantee structure also works in his favor. He will have his first three contract years fully guaranteed by March of 2025, so he is a lock to earn the full $75.5 million guarantee. Williams needs to get to the third year of the contract to lock in more of his salary as does Simmons. Payne, who was in a comparable situation as a tagged player, also needs to get to the third year to lock in all of the guarantee, though Payne will have a high percentage of his third year salary guaranteed by start of year two.

Despite the fact that the annual value on this is just a shade higher than Williams’ contract with the Jets this contract really should go a long way toward propelling the interior market much closer to the Donald number. The cash flows on this are a big step up in year two and year three from Williams and set new thresholds for Christian Wilkins and maybe Chris Jones to work off of.

It is actually a surprise to me that Baltimore would do this contract. It took them a long time to finalize the Lamar Jackson contract last year and as I mentioned earlier does not hit the same kind of structure we have seem the Ravens do with their other players. Maybe part of it was driven by not wanting to get bogged down the way they were with Jackson and having to deal with constant questions about why a deal wasn’t done. Maybe they were worried that a team would go nuts with Wilkins and just make this deal cost more if they waited. Maybe they just needed the cap room. Whatever it was this is a great contract for Madubuike and one that every interior defender, especially those who do not carry a first round grade, should be celebrating tonight.