How much Justin Madubuike will make on Ravens franchise tag, transition tag

The Ravens might need to pay a ton of money to keep Madubuike

Washington Commanders v Baltimore Ravens
Washington Commanders v Baltimore Ravens / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens have quite a few impactful names, like Patrick Queen and Kevin Zeitler, scheduled to hit the free agent market in the next month. None of them, however, has as dominant a season as defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who amassed a preposterous 13 sacks in his fourth year in the league.

Madubuike has hinted in the past with his "business is business" remark that he is not going to take a hometown discount to return to Baltimore and is openly pining for the biggest deal possible.

The Ravens may decide that leaving him open in free agency is too risky and that hitting him with the franchise tag is a much better strategy. Such a move would be extremely costly for the Ravens, but it would keep Madubuike in town.

What is the franchise tag and transition tag?

With the non-exclusive franchise tag (the most common one in practice), a player is offered a one-year contract based on the average of the top-five salaries at their position during the last five years. Players can sign offer sheets with other teams, but their previous club has the right to match. If the player signs elsewhere, two first-round picks must be sent to the previous team.

The exclusive franchise tag prevents negotiation with other teams, but the one-year salary is instead based on the top-five salaries at the position for the current season.

The transition tag's one-year deal salary is based on the cap percentage average of the top 10 largest salaries at their respective position in the last year. Players are allowed to negotiate with other teams, and the original team wouldn't be compensated if they sign elsewhere.

2024 NFL Franchise Tag for defensive tackles

The current franchise tag number for the 2024 season is $20.9 million, which would make Madubuike the eighth-highest-paid at his position in the league. Of those seven ranked above him, only two (Washington's Da'Ron Payne and San Francisco's Javon Hargave) have not made an All-Pro team.

The transition tag number comes in at $15.8 million, which both denies the Ravens any exclusivity and does not properly compensate Madubuike for one of the best seasons any defensive linemen had last year. If he gets tagged, Baltimore will guarantee at least one more year of excellence at the DT spot.

Players don't like the franchise tag, as it deprives them of the ability to hit the open market fully. As tough as it may be, the best way for the Ravens to guarantee they don't lose their standout defensive tackle from last year will be by putting this designation on him.