Earlier this offseason, the Ravens placed the franchise tag on star kicker, Justin Tucker. The franchise tag restricts the player it is assigned to from signing with any other team. If a long term extension is not worked out before July 15th, the tag becomes a one year deal, and the player is a free agent yet again at the end of the next season.
Currently under the franchise tag, Tucker has a one year $4.57 million contract. The Ravens know that they need to lock up Tucker for the long term, but have made no progress toward doing so. Tucker said new deal is, "a matter of when, not if," while at Ladarius Webb’s charity softball game.
Tucker wants to stay in Baltimore and the Ravens want to keep him. But, the two sides haven’t met since the end of OTA’s according to rotoworld.
Despite the slow, if happening at all, negotiations, Tucker seems to be very patient. "But I know there’s a lot of things to juggle from their perspective," Justin said. "So all I can do is just be patient and let the process unfold how it’s going to unfold, there’s no sense in complaining about it. I’m definitely in a very fortunate position, and I just hope that I can take this one year and turn it into four or five, or perhaps even more."
Broncos linebacker, and Super Bowl 50 MVP, Von Miller, said that he will not play this upcoming season if a long term deal is not worked out, and he plays under the franchise tag. Miller even went as far as to crop John Elway out of a photo he posted on Instagram.
Tucker has attended all of the Ravens offseason programs, and has shown no distaste toward the front office, as shown by his patience. Ravens fans should not have to worry about him following in Miller’s footsteps.
Plus, Ian McCue of 247 Sports wrote that, "These deals almost always happen at the final hour..."
This seems likely to be what will end up happening with Tucker’s contract, and fans should expect to see him in Baltimore for the foreseeable future. But giving him a mega deal could also have negative implications.
If the Ravens don’t work out a deal before the deadline, the $4.57 million he would be in line to receive under the franchise tag would make him the highest paid kicker this season. It would be very unlikely for whatever deal Tucker gets to have a lower yearly salary than the franchise tag. For a team riding right up against the cap this could be a problem.
If Tucker signs a huge deal, the Ravens will run the risk of losing key free agents next year, namely defensive tackle Brandon Williams. The Ravens could always franchise tag Williams, but then they have to go through the same long negotiation process as Tucker. Or, if Tucker doesn’t sign a deal, then the Ravens have to choose whether to put the tag on Williams or Tucker next year, and in that scenario, odds are that one of the two would be gone, likely Williams.
But that is the worst case scenario. Tucker is almost guaranteed to receive an extension before the deadline. Fans might just have to wait it out a little longer. But we all know the motto: Trust Ozzie.