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Justin Tucker 'Optimistic' About Deal With Ravens


The Ravens' biggest name set to hit the unrestricted free-agent market is also the man with the biggest personality.

Kicker Justin Tucker's rookie contract expires this offseason, and the fan favorite and 2013 Pro Bowler is looking to stick around.

On Monday, Tucker said his agent and the Ravens have been talking on and off for the better part of a year. "At this juncture, I'm kind of letting it all just unfold how it's going to unfold, and I'm optimistic that something will get done," he said.

After Sunday's regular-season finale, Tucker was asked whether he'd like to return to Baltimore if "all things are equal."

"I definitely would," he said. "My wife and I, my growing family, has had a great experience in Baltimore. The fans have been great, the organization has been great, my teammates have become some of my closest friends. It's something I'd definitely like to build on, something I'd definitely like to continue."

Tucker has been one of the NFL's best kickers during his four years in Baltimore, and he's off to a historically good start in his career.

In Week 2 this season, Tucker became the fastest kicker in NFL history to reach 100 converted field goals, doing so in his 50th career game. Hall of Famer Jan Stenerud did it in 53 games. Playing in his 60th game, Tucker became the fastest kicker in NFL history to reach 500 points, doing so one game before Stenerud.

Tucker ranks as the NFL's second-most accurate kicker of all-time. He's connected on 130 of 148 career attempts, good for an 87.8 field-goal percentage. Tucker surpassed New England kicker Stephen Gostkowski in that category in the regular-season finale.

Tucker capped his 2015 season with an impressive showing in Cincinnati, hitting field goals from 28, 50 and 49 yards, respectively. Gostkowski missed a 46-yard attempt in the Patriots' Week 17 loss, dropping his career average to 87.3. The only kicker in NFL history with a better career success rate is Dallas' Dan Bailey, who is over 90 percent.

Gostkowski signed a four-year deal with the Patriots last offseason reportedly worth approximately $17.2 million, making him the NFL's highest-paid kicker.

Tucker is coming off a season in which he posted his lowest field-goal success rate (82.5 percent). It's the second straight year in which his rate has dropped. In Tucker's Pro Bowl year (2013), he converted 38 of 41 attempts (92.7 percent).

Tucker had troubles from 50 yards or beyond for much of the season, but hit 50-yard field goals in back-to-back games to close the season, ending 4-for-9 from that distance overall.

He has been particularly automatic from within 40 yards. He's only missed once in his career from that distance. Tucker has never missed an extra point during his four-year career, even after the league moved the attempt back this season.

If the Ravens don't reach a new deal with Tucker before the start of free agency in March, they could also decide to place the franchise tag on him, ensuring that Tucker would be in Baltimore for at least one more year. The Patriots did that with Gostkowski before reaching a long-term deal.

"All that stuff will take care of itself when it's supposed to be taken care of, and I'm confident I'll end up exactly where I'm supposed to be," Tucker said.

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