Ravens LB Suggs Getting Closer to a Long-Term Deal

A recent story in the Baltimore Sun reported that Ravens Pro Bowl linebacker Terrell Suggs said he is nearing a long-term deal with the team. “We are close to an agreement. We just have a few little things to work out,” Suggs told the paper. “I don’t want to go into great detail, but it’s things like the years of the agreement and incentives, but the basic framework has been done.”

The move by the Ravens and their star pass rusher was probably initiated due to the league mandated rule that a player receiving the “franchise” tag has until July 15th to sign a new deal. If a deal between the two sides cannot be struck, Suggs would play the 2009 season under the franchise tag for a second straight season, earning the NFL salary cap unfriendly sum of $10.2 million dollars and leaving an opening for him to be free agent in March 2010.  Suggs, 26, is considered one of the best defensive stars in the NFL along with players like Steelers LB James Harrison and Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware.   Suggs was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2003 and has made the Pro Bowl three times since while producing 53 sacks and 5 interceptions in his career.

Though Suggs was a big part of the Ravens being ranked first in turnovers for the 2008 NFL season (34 turnovers — 26 interceptions and 8 fumbles recovered), you have to wonder if the Ravens will be able to meet his high demands.  This offseason the Ravens already re-signed veteran LB Ray Lewis (seven-year contract through 2015 that will pay him $10 Million in year one) and other players (S Ed Reed, NT Haloti Ngata and FB Le’Ron McClain) will be looking for future paydays too. Of the rumors that he would be the highest paid defensive player in football, Suggs said “No, that’s not true, but that’s cool if people want to believe that. Being one of the highest paid players has never been my motivation. I just wanted to be paid what is fair, what I think I’ve earned.”

As training camps getting closer in late July, it will be interesting to see if Suggs and fellow franchised players (Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby, Titans TE Bo Scaife, Rams Safety Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, Chiefs QB Matt Cassel, Panthers DE Julius Peppers, and Texans CB Dunta Robinson) will either sign new long term deals, play under their 1-year franchise deals, or in some cases holdout.


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