Ravens tender Edwards, receive two compensatory picks in next month’s draft

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With free agency set to officially open next week, the Ravens were sure to retain a critical piece of their record-setting rushing attack.

On Wednesday, Baltimore placed a tender on running back Gus Edwards, who is a restricted free agent after rushing for more than 700 yards and 5.0 yards per carry for the third straight season in 2020. The Ravens placed a second-round tender worth $3.384 million on Edwards, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That designation was expected and means any team signing Edwards to an offer sheet would forfeit their second-round draft pick to the Ravens if they declined to match the offer, making it highly unlikely the 238-pound back ends up elsewhere for the 2021 campaign.

Last season, Edwards rushed for 723 yards and six touchdowns on just over 5.0 yards per carry and was graded fifth among qualified running backs by Pro Football Focus.

“Gus is going to be on the team one way or the other,” general manager Eric DeCosta said Tuesday. “We’re going to certainly tender him if we don’t get a long-term deal done, but he is a Raven. He played his butt off this year, and he had a good season for us.”

Edwards, 2020 second-round pick J.K. Dobbins, and star quarterback Lamar Jackson give the Ravens the most lucrative running game in the NFL with all three 25 years old or younger. Baltimore has rushed for a staggering 8,808 yards over the last three seasons with Edwards being a critical contributor with his physical style. The question now becomes whether DeCosta is able to extend Edwards beyond 2021, something the organization has interest in doing at the right price.

The Ravens also tendered a pair of exclusive-rights free agents: center Trystan Colon-Castillo and inside linebacker Kristian Welch. Exclusive-rights free agents aren’t permitted to negotiate with other teams upon being tendered.

As of Wednesday evening, the Ravens hadn’t tendered inside linebacker Chris Board (restricted), cornerback Khalil Dorsey (exclusive rights), punter Johnny Townsend (exclusive rights), and wide receiver Antoine Wesley (exclusive rights). They would be free to negotiate with other teams if not tendered or signed to a new deal by 4 p.m. on March 17.

On Wednesday, DeCosta and the Ravens officially received two compensatory picks in the 2021 draft. The Ravens were awarded a third-round pick (104th overall) for former assistant David Culley being hired as Houston’s head coach — and will receive another third-round pick in next year’s draft — as well as a fifth-round selection (183rd overall) for the free-agent departure of nose tackle Michael Pierce last offseason.

The Ravens now have seven picks in next month’s draft: a first-round selection, a second, a third, a fourth, two fifths, and a sixth.