3. Justin Madubuike, defensive end/tackle
No other NFL player improved as much as defensive end Justin Madubuike did in 2023. Granted, he had displayed flashes in previous seasons but he hadn't been nearly as dominant as last year, tallying 12.5 and turning into a game-changer for the Baltimore Ravens. Coincidentally, Madubuike's rise happened in a contract year.
If this were another team, there's a chance Madubuike would hit the open market, but this is the Ravens we're talking about. They won't let the 2020 third-round pick leave. As they've previously shown, they'll take care of their own players. You could argue that Baltimore and Lamar Jackson got into a contract impasse last year but they ultimately managed to work things out. Moreover, LJ8 was the exception and not the norm.
Once the Ravens identify a building block, they'll make sure to take care of it. On the off chance, they aren't able to strike a deal with Madubuike before free agency begins, he will be a prime candidate to get the franchise tag. Either way, don't expect him to hit the open market, but even if he did, the Jags won't probably go after him.
See, the Jags need to bolster their defensive front but they have already paid DaVon Hamilton and Roy Robertson-Harris last year. For whatever reason, they were both underwhelming last year. However, they brought in defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen to replace Mike Caldwell, and Nielsen's forte is the defensive line. The team's brass will most likely take the safer route when it comes to making improvements in the trenches, so you can already rule out buying a Madubuike jersey.