The Justin Tucker Contract: Three Big Things

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Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome speaks at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome speaks at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Ravens Did Again

We’ll get back to Tucker, but this contract was a reminder that the Ravens front office is a well oiled machine. The Ravens don’t use the franchise tag to keep players for one season. It’s not a last resort situation. The Ravens use the tag to continue conversations with the player and his agent. The proof is in the results. This is the fifth straight player to receive the franchise tag, who has signed a long-term deal in Baltimore.

Chris McAlister, Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Ray Rice all signed deals with the Ravens after they were tagged. Ozzie Newsome and the Ravens front office could teach an entire class on the franchise tag. Many teams use it to prolong the inevitable departure of a key player. The Ravens use it to give them more time to pay the tagged player like a cornerstone player. It’s how it was meant to be.

Now it’s easy to criticize the Ravens for the deals they made with Ngata and Rice. Those contracts resulted in dead money that really hurt the Ravens against the cap. The Ravens though didn’t have the ability to look into the future. They could not have predicted Rice would make the mistake that he made.

The point here is that the Ravens know how the system is supposed to work. They use it to their advantage. They don’t use the franchise tag loosely. When the tag a player, they mean it. And what they mean, is that the tagged player is going to get a deal.

Next: Tucker Has The Clutch Gene