Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome has made it clear that the organization is determined to keep Haloti Ngata beyond this season, and to finish his career with the team that drafted him.
Ngata, who was selected 12th by the Ravens in the 2006 NFL draft, has provided the necessary presence up front that allowed the Ravens to stay a consistent, premier defense. This is certainly the case during the tail end of Ray Lewis' career, who was able to make an impact because Ngata allowed him to roam free in any opponents backfield.
But as the Ravens continue to move toward a new era on the defensive side of the ball, there have been concerns regarding Ngata's future within the franchise beyond 2014. At age 30, he has become less durable over the last few seasons and has not displayed the same consistency that made him a once dominant force.
Nontheless, Newsome is committed to negotiating a new contract for Ngata, which appears to be a priority moving forward. In an interview with the Ravens team website, Newsome echoed the importance of keeping Ngata around.
"We wanted two things from these contracts," Newsome said. "The first is to create some cap room and the other is to try and make sure these two players remained Ravens forever. We got 'Sizzle' done and we're still hopeful with Haloti."
Newsome also mentioned in the interview that he hopes to extend the contracts of Torrey Smith, Jimmy Smith, and Justin Tucker. In order to keep the plethora of young and developing talent, a likely scenario is for Ngata to accept a franchise-friendly deal that works positively with the salary cap. That could allow the Ravens to keep their young core intact.
It will be intriguing to discover whether Ngata will follow the route of Terrell Suggs by ensuring that he could end his career with the Ravens, or will he attempt to earn every penny he can at this point in his career.