The Baltimore Ravens considered themselves very fortunate to be in the position to draft running back J.K. Dobbins in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. And he has been quite a talent when he has been on the field. The only problem is that he has missed more games than he has played in since then.
The thing is, as a former second-round pick in 2020, he is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent in 2024. Or in other words, he is up for a contract extension right now. And yesterday he took to social media to make some interesting comments that could be interpreted as, if nothing else, then perhaps a negotiating tactic.
“Baltimore…. #Ravensflock i hope Im here till the end of my career… I love you”, he said in one Tweet. He followed that up, if memory serves, with a second Tweet that said something like “idk tho”, expressing doubt. He deleted that one, but not another, in which he said that he is Baltimore through and through…until he’s gone.
earlier this offseason, Dobbins’ quarterback, Lamar Jackson, openly announced that he had submitted a trade request to the Ravens front office. A month and a half later, he signed the most lucrative contract in NFL history on a per-year compensation basis. Is the running back trying to take a page out of his playbook?
Dobbins is not currently participating in OTAs, which of course are voluntary. It is not known if Baltimore has any intentions of seriously engaging with the running back in contract negotiations this offseason, and what that might even look like.
The Ohio St. product had a very impressive rookie season back in 2020 in a limited role. On just 134 carries, he rushed for 805 yards with nine touchdowns. But he missed all of his second season after suffering a torn ACL. And that injury continued to limit him through much of last season, missing the first two games and then a stretch of six games in the middle of the year.
But he was still successful when he was on the field, averaging nearly six yards per carry on 92 rushes for 520 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. He also added a receiving touchdown, though he hasn’t been used extensively as a receiving back in his career.
What kind of contract extension could a back of Dobbins’ talent get, when weighed against the reality that he has missed half of his first three seasons due to injury? Of course, you pay a player not for what he’s done as much as for what you expect him to do.
Now fully healthy, he has the chance to live up to his full potential, but what kind of financial commitment would the Ravens be willing to make to take that chance? Why not play the season out? They still have Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, both of whom also spent 2021 recovering from torn ACLs.