According to multiple reports, the Baltimore Ravens are nearing a contract extension with head coach John Harbaugh that will keep him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. Harbaugh was set to enter the final year of a four-year contract extension previously signed in January of 2019. The deal is expected to be completed within a few weeks' time and represents a no-brainer decision for general manager Eric DeCosta.
The Ravens have experienced a resounding amount of success since Harbaugh took the reins from Brian Billick ahead of the 2008 campaign. Harbaugh just completed his 14h season as Baltimore’s head honcho and the Ravens have qualified for the postseason a healthy nine times within that time frame. Harbaugh has brought strong leadership qualities to one of the most model franchises in the league.
Following the departure of Sean Payton in New Orleans, Harbaugh now becomes the third-longest tenured head coach, trailing just Mike Tomlin and Bill Belichick. A former special teams coordinator and defensive backs coach in Philadelphia, Harbaugh's hiring was viewed as an outside-the-box decision given his lack of offensive/defensive coordinator experience. The bold decision has more than paid off, as Harbaugh helped the Ravens capture Super Bowl XLVII. The Ravens remain a competitive franchise on an annual basis.
The Ravens missed the postseason in 2021, as Harbaugh was unfortunately forced to deal with a plethora of back-breaking injuries. The Ravens somehow lost a trio of running backs (J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill) to season-ending injuries before the campaign even officially kicked off. Joining them on the season-ending mend was two-time first-team All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters, who tore his ACL just days before Week 1. Season-ending injuries to Marlon Humphrey and Ronnie Stanley further complicated things, but no injury was more devastating than the one suffered by MVP quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson suffered an ankle injury in Week 14 that would eventually rule him out for the remainder of the year. It occurred during a crucial stretch in which the Ravens were still competing for the divisional title in a tight race that ultimately featured two playoff teams in the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Harbaugh's reputation didn't take a hit for failing to usher the Ravens to the postseason in 2021. In fact, the admirable job done in the face of adversity may have further enhanced Harbaugh's resume.
Harbaugh will now turn his attention to what should be a promising 2022 campaign as the Ravens appear primed to return to postseason prominence. He'll first focus on hiring a defensive coordinator following the surprising departure of Wink Martindale. Saints secondary coach Kris Richard has been tied to the job publicly, but the race remains open. Harbaugh's impending extension represents an excellent decision for all parties involved.
While a staggering nine NFL franchises are currently searching for their next head coach, Harbaugh and the Ravens continue to form and represent one of the more stable, healthy partnerships in the league.