The Ravens have signed wide receiver Rashod Bateman to a contract extension through the 2026 season, the team announced Wednesday, quieting speculation about the 2021 first-round pick’s future in Baltimore. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bateman, who had 32 catches for 367 yards and one touchdown last season, was heading toward what could’ve been the final year of his rookie contract. The Ravens had until May 2 to decide whether to pick up the fifth-year option on his deal. Zay Flowers, last year’s first-round pick, was the team’s only wide receiver under contract through at least 2025.

“We are pleased to announce that we have extended Rashod Bateman’s contract through the 2026 season,” general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement. “Congratulations to ‘Bate’ and his family. This is a good day for the Ravens.”

Getting separation last season wasn’t a problem for Bateman. According to ESPN, among the 109 NFL wide receivers with at least 30 targets in 2023, Bateman ranked 31st in “Open Score,” which assesses the likelihood that a receiver would’ve completed a catch if targeted on a route. Fellow Ravens wideouts Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. ranked 13th and 29th, respectively.

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According to Pro Football Focus, Bateman had one of the NFL’s best separation grades among wideouts, ahead of Beckham, Flowers and even the Miami Dolphins’ Tyreek Hill.

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But an apparent disconnect with quarterback Lamar Jackson limited Bateman’s production. His downfield throws to Bateman were considered “off target” 57.1% of the time, according to PFF; only five qualifying receivers in the NFL had a worse rate.

“Rashod Bateman has a great future,” coach John Harbaugh said in February. “Yeah, he runs great routes. He’s developed into a great, great route runner, and I know Lamar wants to get him the ball as much as he can. So the idea that he didn’t maybe — you’re saying he didn’t get as many passes as you would have liked him to get or whatever — hey, I agree. I want Bate to flourish and make a bunch of plays, and he’s going to do that, and I think he’ll be a bigger part of it next year.”

Bateman was the fifth wide receiver in Ravens history to be drafted in the first round, but he’s the first to earn a second deal with the team. His first three years in Baltimore have been marked by flashes of greatness and longer periods of frustration.

Bateman, the No. 27 overall pick in 2021, missed the first five games of his rookie season while recovering from surgery on his groin, the first significant injury of his football career. He finished his rookie season with 46 catches for 515 yards and a touchdown despite limited snaps with Jackson, who was sidelined later in the year by an ankle injury.

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In 2022, Bateman had eight catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns in his first three weeks. But a Lisfranc (foot) injury soon got in the way, and he underwent season-ending surgery after playing just six games. Last offseason, Bateman retweeted a message indicating that, while he was healthy at Minnesota, he “hasn’t finished a season yet” in Baltimore.

“Keep us healthy,” Bateman later wrote in a since-deleted tweet responding to comments from DeCosta about the team’s wide receivers. “Care about US & see what happen.” He later apologized for the message.

Last year, Bateman started training camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list as he recovered from the operation, and he didn’t practice with the team until Aug. 9. But Bateman missed just one game all season, and he finished the regular season on an upswing, recording four catches for a season-high 54 yards in the Week 16 win over the Miami Dolphins.

His extension comes just a day before the first round of the NFL draft, where the Ravens could still target a wide receiver with the No. 30 overall pick.

”I think Rashod Bateman is going to take a big step” in 2024, Harbaugh said in February at the NFL scouting combine. “Rashod is going to get opportunities this year. He ran routes really well. He worked super hard. He was healthy for the first time — even as the year went on, he got healthier, and you could see it in his play. The ball got to him, [and] when it did, he made some great plays. The ball is going to get to him a lot more next year. He’s going to be ready to go.”

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