Don Martindale had to wait nearly a decade for a second chance as an NFL defensive coordinator. Two years into his second stint, he's earned a second contract that is second to none.
The Ravens have signed Martindale to a new three-year deal that makes him the highest-paid defensive coordinator in the league, NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reported.
With the way Martindale is going, he might not stick around until the end of this extension. Baltimore's defensive maestro interviewed for the Giants' head coaching vacancy in January and is expected to be a top candidate in the next cycle, Rapoport added.
The 56-year-old assistant affectionately known as "Wink" has demonstrated a keen defensive eye since John Harbaugh promoted him from linebackers coach to DC two years ago. The Ravens ranked first in total defense and second in scoring defense in 2018. Last year they ranked fourth and third, respectively, en route to earning the AFC's top seed.
Perhaps more impressive is Baltimore achieving those defensive marks with two different nucleuses.
The Ravens lost veterans Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle, C.J. Mosely and Za'Darius Smith from their 2018 squad. Martindale quickly regrouped this past season, spawning All-Pro campaigns out of defensive backs Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, who was acquired via midseason trade, and Pro-Bowl nods from linebacker Matt Judon and safety Earl Thomas, who signed with Baltimore last offseason.
It's all a far cry from where Martindale stood at the beginning of last decade, after overseeing a 2010 Broncos unit that finished last in scoring and total defense. Those metrics left him one and done as a DC in Denver and out of the league in 2011. He might not be a DC in Baltimore much longer either, but for very different reasons.