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Ravens J.K. Dobbins

Should Ravens Give JK Dobbins New Deal?

  • Justin Melo
  • August 3, 2023
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Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins has been absent from practice. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list due to undisclosed reasons. Dobbins may be conducting a contract-related “hold in,” according to multiple reports

There isn’t a clear timetable for Dobbins’ return. Given his injury history, the Ravens shouldn’t give Dobbins a new contract ahead of the 2023 campaign.

“I don’t know when he’ll return to practice,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh recently said. “It’s a fair question. And there is a point in time when it does [his absence] become a concern. Other than that, there’s nothing else that I can really add because I don’t know when he’s going to come back.”

Dobbins wisely reported to the team’s mandatory minicamp in June to avoid daily fines. He strategically declined to participate in the on-field activity, though. A similar strategy is now being utilized at training camp.

Dobbins is currently scheduled to enter the fourth and final season of his rookie contract. The No. 55 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft is slated to earn a base salary of $1.391 million this season, per Spotrac. He’s understandably unhappy.

There’s no denying Dobbins deserves a raise, but leverage is a different story altogether. He has played only 23 of a possible 50 games across three seasons due to recurring knee injuries. Dobbins suffered a season-ending torn ACL in the final preseason contest ahead of the 2021 campaign. He then spent the 2022 season regaining health and strength in his knee. Another knee injury limited him to seven regular-season appearances.

Dobbins has been productive when on the field. He’s gained 1,487 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. But the Ravens’ hesitancy to commit a multi-year contract to Dobbins is understandable given his lack of consistent availability. Pairing his injury history with recent happenings at the running back position makes it nearly impossible to justify a contract extension.

If Saquon Barkley and Josh Jacobs can’t get contract extensions due to the nature of their devaluing position, then Dobbins probably can’t get one either. Granted, Dobbins’ asking price may be significantly lower and more team-friendly in nature. But it’s ultimately tough to imagine Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta giving in to his demands at this point.

DeCosta recently added veteran running back Melvin Gordon to his roster. Gordon’s addition adds quality depth to the backfield. Gus Edwards, Keaton Mitchell, and Justice Hill are also on the team. The Ravens can afford to wait Dobbins out.

The NFL is undergoing a revolution. In addition to Dobbins, Barkley, and Jacobs, the likes of Austin Ekeler and Jonathan Taylor are dissatisfied with their contracts, but general managers aren’t giving in to their demands. A clear message is being delivered. Historically, running backs have never been in a worse position to negotiate contract extensions. Dobbins is a victim of the times.

The Ravens and Dobbins are involved in a quiet but controversial contract-related standoff. Harbaugh’s comments, and Dobbins’ actions, insinuate there is no resolution in sight. The Ravens should continue holding strong.

Written By

Justin Melo