Columnist Mike Preston and Ravens beat writer Jonas Shaffer discuss their evaluation of the Ravens 2020 draft picks.
The Ravens have exercised their fifth-year option on Marlon Humphrey, the team announced Tuesday night, keeping their All-Pro cornerback under contract through 2021.
General manager Eric DeCosta said at the NFL scouting combine that the team expected to extend the 2017 first-round pick’s rookie contract to its fifth year by the May deadline. Humphrey is the third Ravens first-round pick to have his option exercised since 2017, following inside linebacker C.J. Mosley and offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley.
The value of the option for players drafted outside the top 10 — Humphrey went No. 16 overall — is the average of the third- through 25th-highest salaries at a player’s position. Last season, cornerbacks drafted outside the top 10 earned just under $10 million in their fifth year.
Humphrey, 23, is coming off his best season in Baltimore. In his first year as a full-time starter, he had three interceptions, two forced fumbles and 53 solo tackles, all career highs, while allowing a passer rating of just 68.4 in coverage, according to Pro-Football-Reference. Despite playing over half of his snaps in the slot, Humphrey, normally an outside cornerback, was named to his first Pro Bowl and All-Pro team.
Humphrey’s most memorable play last season helped kick-start the longest winning streak in franchise history. His punch-out and fumble recovery against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5 led to a game-winning field goal from kicker Justin Tucker at Heinz Field, the first of 12 straight victories for the eventual AFC North champion Ravens. In a Week 7 win against the Seattle Seahawks and a Week 9 blowout of the New England Patriots, Humphrey recovered and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
Humphrey almost never left the field for the Ravens defense in 2019. He played 100% of the unit’s snaps in all but four games, and even saw time on special teams over the season’s second half.
With his future in Baltimore beyond this season secure, the Ravens are expected to continue working toward a long-term extension. Cornerbacks Tavon Young and Marcus Peters and safeties Earl Thomas III and Chuck Clark are all signed through at least 2022, and DeCosta said in February that Humphrey is an “elite” young player.