The Ravens reportedly paid one of the most underrated running backs in football Monday, extending former undrafted free agent Gus Edwards on a two-year deal worth $10 million.
Baltimore had placed a second-round tender on its backup running back, highlighting both how much it values him and how committed it was to keeping him in Charm City.
With presumed starter JK Dobbins entering his sophomore season, the Ravens' two-headed backfield monster is now locked in for the next three years at least. Running out of the same backfield as Lamar Jackson, both rushers have been among the most efficient in the NFL while with Baltimore.
Edwards, in particular, has shined in a limited role. He has been one of the most consistent players in the league in his first three seasons, with his carries ranging from 133 to 144 and his rushing yardage totals of 718, 711 and 723. In the process, he has made NFL history.
If you exclude Lamar Jackson, Nick Chubb is the only player with a better yards-per-carry than Edwards since 2018. But the bruiser isn't just a short-yardage back - though he may be the best in the league - as he tied Dobbins in 2020 with the third-most 20-yard bursts in the NFL.
The Ravens have maintained one of the best offenses in the NFL by staying on schedule with their running game. No back has been better at it than Edwards, who has gained positive yardage on 89.1% of his carries since 2018, which is the best mark in the league. His advanced metrics support this as well. Edwards finished seventh in the NFL in rushing DVOA in 2020, according to Football Outsiders.
It has to be mentioned when discussing any Ravens running back's otherworldy efficiency that it is much easier to run the ball when defenses are worried about the threat of Jackson taking off. But Edwards (and Dobbins) are uniquely skilled at running the ball out of shotgun formations and have found a perfect match in Greg Roman's offense.
It's usually not a great idea to pay running backs big money, but an average of $5 million over two years is far from a prohibitive deal for a player who will only be 29 when the deal is over.
To have Edwards and Dobbins, the latter still on his rookie deal, locked up for the next three seasons all but guarantees the Ravens will remain one of the most prolific rushing attacks in football for the foreseeable future.