In his 14-year career, defensive lineman Calias Campbell has played in on one Super Bowl team and nearly made it to two others. But he has never won one. And so, despite turning 36 when the 2022 season gets underway in September, the Baltimore Ravens veteran is willing to give it one more go.
“The feeling I have after seeing [the Los Angeles Rams] celebrate a world championship, I have a desire to play football and compete,” Campbell told Sky Sports last month. “I’m definitely not retiring. I’m coming back.”
Now that the question about whether or not Campbell wants to go a 15th season has been answered, an equally vital question remains: Where will Campbell play in 2022?
Campbell officially becomes an unrestricted free agent next week. Will the Ravens try to re-sign him themselves, or will Campbell be on the move for only the fourth time in his storied career?
Here are the four most-likely landing spots for a player seeking his first Super Bowl title.
Campbell has been with the Ravens for the past two seasons after a three-year stint with the Jacksonville Jaguars that included a trip to the AFC Championship Game in 2017. Prior to that, Campbell played nine seasons with Arizona, going to Super Bowl 42 in his second season in 2009.
The Ravens will always be a contender as long as Lamar Jackson is healthy. Ravens general manager Eric In February, DeCosta was non-committal when asked about Campbell last month, and it sounded as though the veteran was not in their 2022 plans.
“We need to get younger, for sure,” Eric DeCosta said. “I would say that the defensive line is definitely something that as we looked out two years ago and last year, we felt like 2022 would probably be the year that we would have to find some more young guys.”
But last week, DeCosta sounded more willing to have Campbell back. DeCosta said the two have been in contact throughout the offseason.
“We have exchanged text messages,” DeCosta said. “I don’t want to speak for Calais, but I asked Calais, I basically said, ‘Listen, if you want to play, I’d like you to let me know at some point because we thought you had a good year, you are a good player.’
“I have a lot of admiration for Calais as a person and as a player and as a leader. I’m hopeful that we can bring him back. We’d love to bring him back. He’s a guy that plays winning football and he does as much for the team and the organization in the building as he does on the field. I have a lot of respect for him.”
Los Angeles Rams
A team that might be willing to take a flier on an aging, but productive lineman are the very Super Bowl champions that inspired Campbell to return for another season. If Von Miller decides to explore free agency, Campbell could be a one-year stop-gap.
Campbell has been productive in his two years with the Ravens, starting 26 of 27 games with 47 tackles and 5.5 sacks. Campbell was asked to play a great deal in Baltimore because of a lack of depth. With the Rams, Campbell would probably be allowed to take plays off, keeping him fresh for a playoff push.
New England Patriots
It’s expected that if Campbell does hit the free-agent market, he would probably command a contract that pays around $6 million annually. For a team like the Patriots, who need shoring up on the defensive line after a late-season collapse, and with limited wiggle room under the salary cap, Campbell could be the kind of veteran presence head coach Bill Belichick likes to invest in.
Particularly with Devin McCourty expected to leave, the Patriots will want that kind of commanding presence in the locker room to help rebuild a front seven that got repeatedly gashed over the final six weeks of last season.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference