Ravens coach John Harbaugh on Thursday signed a contract extension through 2022, a new four-year deal that will keep the franchise’s winningest coach in Baltimore as the team transitions to a new era.
The value of the contract was not disclosed, but Harbaugh was already among the highest-paid coaches in the NFL. The new deal voids the final year on Harbaugh’s previous contract, a team spokesman said, which was set to expire after the 2019 season.
The Ravens announced in late December that Harbaugh, 56, would return for his 12th season and that the two sides were working to extend his contract. As the team completed its midseason turnaround, earning its first playoff appearance since 2014 and first AFC North title since 2012, Harbaugh became the subject of trade speculation.
But he stressed after the Ravens' season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC wild-card round that he expected to return to Baltimore. On Saturday, Harbaugh reportedly agreed in principle to an extension, though the length of the deal wasn’t known until Thursday.
"I'm very excited with this contract, the opportunity to continue our work here, and I'm humbled by it,” Harbaugh said in a team-issued statement. “I am thankful for the support from the Ravens, especially [owner] Steve Bisciotti. We're working hard to make the 2019 Ravens the best we can be. We have an excellent team foundation, and we have a great organization with smart, hard-working people."
Already the fourth-longest-tenured coach in the NFL — only the New England Patriots' Bill Belichick, New Orleans Saints' Sean Payton and Pittsburgh Steelers' Mike Tomlin have served longer — Harbaugh can now further cement himself as one of the Ravens franchise’s most enduring figures.
The Ravens have made the playoffs seven times in his 11 years, winning Super Bowl XLVII at the end of the 2012 season, and have claimed three AFC North titles. If Harbaugh coaches through the end of his contract, he will have been in Baltimore for 15 seasons; the Ravens have existed for only 23 seasons overall.
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Harbaugh’s new deal is notable for its length. Pete Carroll, also a Super Bowl-winning coach, last month agreed to a contract extension with the Seattle Seahawks through 2021 reportedly worth more than $11 million per year.
The contract also overlaps with quarterback Lamar Jackson’s rookie deal. While ownership could decide to part ways with Harbaugh before the contract runs its course — Bisciotti fired Brian Billick in 2007, one year after a playoff appearance garnered a contract extension through 2010 — Harbaugh and Jackson are both set to become free agents after the 2022 season. (Jackson’s rookie deal ends in 2021, but includes a fifth-year option for the Ravens.)
In an offseason already notable for the promotion of Eric DeCosta to general manager and of Greg Roman to offensive coordinator, Jackson’s development as a drop-back passer remains the Ravens' most important storyline. Harbaugh’s success over his first 10-plus seasons dovetailed with that of quarterback Joe Flacco, a former Super Bowl Most Valuable Player whom the team is expected to trade or release before next season in a cost-cutting move.
“Lamar is our quarterback going forward, no question about that,” Harbaugh said after the Jan. 6 playoff loss to the Chargers. “Joe Flacco is going to play really well in this league. Joe can still play; I think we saw that in the first half of this season. Joe’s going to have a market.”
He added: “Like I told the guys, every ending is a beginning. So that’s where we go from here. There’s only beginnings. We’ll see where it takes us.”
Harbaugh, who returned from Senior Bowl practices in Mobile, Ala., on Thursday, is scheduled to talk to reporters Friday morning for the first time this offseason. He still must fill vacancies on his staff at running backs coach and wide receivers coach.
DeCosta likewise is scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday for the first time since taking over for Ozzie Newsome as GM.