Calais Campbell isn’t done yet. On Super Bowl Sunday, the 14-year veteran and pending NFL free agent told Sky Sports he’s not retiring. Now Campbell just needs a team to give him a reasonable contract.
“The feeling I have right now after seeing [the Rams] celebrate a world championship, I have a desire to go out there and play football and to compete,” Campbell said. “So, I’m definitely not retiring. I’m coming back.”
Calais Campbell: Free Agency Overview
Campbell, 35, might have to change teams for a third time to keep his career going. He spent the past two years with the Baltimore Ravens after stints with the Arizona Cardinals (2008-2016) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2017-2019). Campbell is 51st on the NFL’s career sack list with 93.5.
Recapping Campbell’s 2021 season
The Ravens certainly didn’t use Campbell as you’d expect, considering his age. Most mid-30s pass rushers are spot players. Not Campbell. He was on the field for 56.7% of Baltimore’s defensive plays — the seventh-most of any Ravens player. He even logged 123 special-teams snaps.
In 15 games, Campbell totaled 49 tackles (5 for loss), 16 pressures, 12 quarterback hits, and 1.5 sacks. Campbell — a six-time Pro Bowler and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s All-Decade team in the 2010s — has been incredibly durable during his 14-year career, appearing in 213 of a possible 225 games.
Cambell’s contract estimate and salary cap implications
Money shouldn’t be Campbell’s primary motivation when deciding where to sign. He’s made a ton of it from football. Campbell just fulfilled a two-year commitment with the Ravens that paid him $25 million — bringing his career earnings to a whopping $128.1 million.
Campbell likely won’t get the same $12.5 AAV that he earned from Baltimore the last two years. It’s hard to gauge the market for a 36-year-old pass rusher, but a reasonable guess for his earning power at this stage of his career would be in the neighborhood of $6 million annually. That’s still starter money that would put him in the top 60 of NFL edge defenders.
Possible landing spots for Campbell
If Campbell wants to return to Baltimore at a discount, the light will probably be left on for him. The Ravens hold him in high regard, and if they draft a pass rusher or two this April, it would be good to have a veteran leader showing them the way.
If the Ravens pass, we don’t see Campbell going to a non-contender. His comments suggest his motivation for returning is winning a ring, and there’s no shortage of teams that would gladly pick up one of the most decorated pass rushers of this century on the cheap. If the Rams don’t retain Von Miller, they make a ton of sense. So does a return to Arizona. The Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, and Kansas City Chiefs all need edge help too.
What they’re saying about Campbell
“Calais and I did talk after the season. He came up, and we spent some time talking. There will be more discussions that we have. I really admire Calais as a leader, as a player. He still plays at a high level and has a great attitude. He’s great for the younger guys.” — Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta
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