After Jon Gruden signed a 10-year, $100 million deal to join the Oakland Raiders, fans of the Ravens were left wondering how much it would cost to extend John Harbaugh.
If Gruden is worth $100 million, then how much is the man who led the Ravens to seven postseason appearances in eleven years, including 10 playoff victories and the franchise’s second Super Bowl championship worth? How many years were the Ravens going to have to commit to locking up their head coach?
The answer, it turns out, is smaller than might have been expected.
The team clarified that it’s a new four-year contract, not an extension on his existing deal, meaning Harbaugh is now signed through the 2022 season. The exact terms are unclear, as the Ravens don’t typically release specifics, but it appears he’ll be well-compensated relative to his peers.
This is a simple, straightforward deal which will keep Harbaugh in Baltimore through the next few years, allowing him to continue to rebuild the roster around their newest QB. That, in a vacuum, isn't particularly exciting. For Ravens fans? It’s news worth cheering.
It doesn't sound like a long time, especially when compared to Gruden’s deal, but four years is an eternity in the NFL. It’s really more of a three-year deal, as ownership would likely want to avoid a lame duck season if it came to that.
By 2022, Lamar Jackson might no longer be a Raven, if the team chooses not to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. Obviously, the front office is hoping Jackson will have established himself as a long term fixture at quarterback by then, but the point remains, it could be a completely different roster.
The Ravens as an organization also preach consistency, especially when it comes to leadership. When Ozzie Newsome stepped down as general manager, it was longtime right-hand man Eric DeCosta who stepped up to fill the role. With that shift, it was thought that Harbaugh may seek greater responsibilities in building out the team’s roster, but he clarified that wasn't the case.
Despite a full month elapsing between the time the Ravens announced they were working toward an agreement and the report that a deal had been reached, Harbaugh says the negotiations went “real smooth.” This is clearly an outcome all sides want to come to.
It’s not a surprising contract, good or bad. It’s a reasonable length, maybe only a year or two shorter than expected. It seems to be for a reasonable amount of money per season, and there were no sweeping changes in responsibility for any party.
This past season, Harbaugh recorded his 100th win with the Ravens. With this contract, he’ll have the chance to add plenty more to that total in the next few years.
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