Ravens likely to use franchise tag on Justin Madubuike if no deal is reached, GM says


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The Baltimore Ravens’ focus remains on signing pending free agent Justin Madubuike to a contract extension, but general manager Eric DeCosta acknowledged that the team will likely use the franchise tag if it doesn’t come to terms with the ascending defensive tackle.

That decision will have to be made by 4 p.m. on March 5, the final day teams can use the tag on a player.


What is an NFL franchise tag? History of unique deal

Tagging Madubuike would cost the Ravens $22.1 million, which would be prohibitive for Baltimore, who have myriad needs and not a whole lot of salary cap space to fill them. However, they are committed to keeping Madubuike, the 26-year-old who led all interior defensive linemen this past season with 13 sacks.

“We’re trying to get a deal done,” DeCosta said Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. “We’ve had discussions with Justin. He’s a guy that obviously has put himself in a fortuitous position this year by the way that he played. He had a great season for us.”

A third-round pick by the Ravens in 2020, Madubuike eschewed contract extension offers by the Ravens last offseason, intent on betting on himself and heightening his value in free agency. He went out and had a breakout season, emerging as one of the stars on arguably the NFL’s best defense.

Not only were his 13 sacks 4 1/2 more than he had in his first three NFL seasons combined, but they were the most for a Baltimore interior defensive lineman since Trevor Pryce also had 13 in 2006. He tied an NFL single-season record with at least a half-sack in 11 consecutive games. Madubuike was also a presence in the postseason with a half sack and 13 quarterback pressures in the Ravens’ two playoff games.

Madubike is widely believed to be one of the top pending free agents. The Athletic’s Randy Mueller, a former NFL general manager, ranked Madubuike as the third-best pending free agent.

However, given DeCosta’s comments Tuesday, it seems highly unlikely that Madubuike will reach the open market, whether that’s due to a contract extension or the franchise tag.

“He’s a valued player on the team, and we’re hopeful that we can get a long-term deal done,” DeCosta said.

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(Photo: David Rosenblum / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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