Over the last six seasons, Terrell "T-Sizzle" Suggs has made a name for himself on Baltimore's aggressive defense. During that span, he has more sacks than any other player on the Ravens roster. He has 53 sacks over his entire career, including an astounding 12 sacks in his rookie season. However, Suggs abilities go beyond rushing the passer. Last season, he intercepted two passes and returned both of them for touchdowns. He has perfected his game and become a complete linebacker. He can rush the passer, drop into coverage and stop the run. He has become an essential piece in the Ravens' defense and one of the elite outside linebackers in the NFL.
There is no doubting Suggs' abilities, and the Ravens have kept a tight grip on him. They placed the franchise tag on Terrell Suggs last off-season and hoped to sign a long term deal. They were ultimately unable to reach a deal and were forced to use the franchise tag on Suggs again this off-season. In fact, they had a disagreement because Suggs believed that he needed to be paid like a defensive end, a position that he often plays on the Ravens' hybrid defense and happens to pay more money, but the Ravens insisted that Suggs was still a linebacker and should be paid as such. In the end, they reached a compromise. The NFL created a special franchise tag for hybrid linebackers that splits the difference between a linebacker's pay and a defensive end's pay, and Suggs was the first recipient of the unique tag.
"I feel like we’re getting close," Suggs told BaltimoreRavens.com. "Negotiations are going on with the Ravens. Fans can be optimistic that I’ll be [at training camp]."
"We’ve talked," Suggs explained when asked about talks with Ozzie Newsome. "There are some minor things we’re working out."
"We are close to an agreement. We just have a few little things to work out," Suggs told The Baltimore Sun. "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."
This is good news for the Ravens and their fans, but one must wonder how much longer these negotiations will last. Last year, Ozzie Newsome tried to sign Suggs to a new long-term contract, but the deal never happened. Suggs briefly held out of training camp to show his displeasure with the franchise tag. This year, both parties seem to be more optimistic about a new contract. Furthermore, Ozzie Newsome has been very thrifty this off-season. He allowed Jason Brown and Bart Scott to walk and receive bigger contracts. He passed on Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall. He even allowed Ray Lewis to test the free agent market. He has been tight with the team's money. It's very possible that Newsome has saved a large portion for Suggs, who has been one of the team's most important and consistent players over the last six seasons. If the Ravens cannot sign Suggs by the July 15th deadline, they will be forced to pay him the $10.2 million required by the franchise tag.
"Our plan is to sign 'Sizzle' to a long-term contract," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "We believe our history of keeping our best players for a long time speaks for itself."