(POST PUBLISH NOTE: The Ravens reached a deal just announced over at BaltimoreRavens.com, for a reported $63 million over six years. Click here to read the story.)
The title of this post came to me late last night and I deserve major kudos for it from everyone. The Baltimore Ravens star hybrid LB/DE, Terrell Suggs, has until 4pm today to work out a long term deal with the team or keep his Franchise Tag for another year. He will not be permitted by league rules to sign another contract with the team until after the 2009 season, thereby increasing the odds that this season will be his final one in a Ravens uniform.
Cross your fingers that we will hear the announcement prior to the 4pm deadline.
Suggs is coming off an excellent 2008 season in which he had 68 tackles, 8 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. If he does reach an agreement before the deadline, he will still be able to put food on his table, as he is being tagged as our Franchise Player, which normally pays a player the average of the top five at his position. Since this is the second year that Suggs has been tagged, he get an additional 20% raise on top of that, paying him $10.2 million for the 2009 season. The team does still have the option next year of franchising him again, but then he would receive the average of the top five player in the entire league, which would put him in the area that Carolina Panthers' DE Julius Peppers is receiving, which is around $16-17 million! Paying Suggs that huge amount would wreck havoc with ours or any teams' salary cap and prevent the team from signing other free agents, much less their own players whose contracts will need to be renegotiated.
That list which has begun to take shape, already includes key members of the offensive line such as Ben Grubbs and Jared Gaither. There is no way the team will keep Suggs at that price, so whatever they agree to sign him for today will be a bargain come the same time next season. Suggs is only 26 years old and will begin his 7th season this year, so he has a ton of quality playing time left in his young body. As a cornerstone of the defensive front seven, he will be a major factor in the teams success and has achieved All Pro status on a regular basis.
If the Ravens decide to let him walk after the 2009 season, suitors will line up at his door waiting for the free agency period to begin in 2010, most likely starting with the New York Jets as well as his hometown Arizona Cardinals. However, the Ravens can put all this nonsense to sleep by agreeing to a long term deal before 4pm today and not place both parties in an uncomfortable position for the enitre 2009 season.