As the Ravens go through offseason negotiations with quarterback Joe Flacco, they have the luxury of using the one-year franchise tag if the two sides can't reach a long-term deal by March 4.
If Flacco and the Ravens do work out a new contract by that deadline, they would then have the tag available to potentially use on one of their other prized free agents like Ed Reed or Paul Kruger.
But don't expect the Ravens to tag anyone else.
"We get a deal done with Joe, we will not franchise another player," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said during Thursday's State of the Ravens address. "We will not do that."
Newsome then looked over to Owner Steve Bisciotti for affirmation.
"You are OK with that, right?" Newsome asked.
"Absolutely," Bisciotti said with a laugh.
That means the Ravens will have to work out new contracts with Reed, Kruger, Dannell Ellerbe and Cary Williams to prevent the starting defenders from hitting the open market.
The trouble with using the franchise tag on any player is that it eats up a big chunk of the salary cap because the individual gets paid the average of the five highest salaries at his respective position. Working out a long-term deal with a player allows teams to spread the cap hit over a few seasons, rather than the entire salary counting against the upcoming year.
The Ravens are already tight against the salary cap, which is expected to be about $121 million per team this year, according to President Dick Cass.
The Ravens salary cap situation could likely be a factor in deciding not to use the franchise tag on any other player than Flacco.