According to various media reports, Ravens general manager **Ozzie Newsome** is prepared to use the franchise tag on linebacker Terrell Suggs!(/team/roster/terrell-suggs/ad26be43-1380-45f1-b047-a91e850d9761/ "Terrell Suggs") if both sides cannot come to an agreement on a new contract before the designation deadline Thursday at 4 p.m.
Franchising the former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year would at least lock him up for the 2009 season, but that doesn't mean the tag would put an end to future negotiations.
"I think you have to look at it as an opportunity for us to get to a long-term deal," Newsome told the *Baltimore Sun *Tuesday. "That's how [Suggs] and I are approaching it this year."
Looking back at Newsome's history dealing with young talent on his roster, one would have to believe him.
The Ravens have a long history of keeping their young, talented draft picks.
Tackle Jonathan Ogden remained in Baltimore for his entire career before he retired in the 2008 offseason. Tight end **Todd Heap** and safety Ed Reed!(/team/roster/ed-reed/89ece203-7de4-4b40-9651-f16f4c3b7699/ "Ed Reed") also re-signed with the Ravens.
Even cornerback Chris McAlister, who was released earlier this week, held the franchise tag for the entire 2003 campaign and part of 2004 before he came to terms with a seven-year deal.
Typically, using the franchise tag means that player would receive the average of the top five salaries at his position.
Last year, the Ravens and Suggs' agent, Gary Wichard, agreed to a new position of outside linebacker/defensive end that paid him significantly more than the linebacker spot at which he was originally listed.
Since he has already carried the tag once, however, Suggs, 26, would garner 120 percent of the amount he brought home in 2008.
Suggs is coming off one of the best seasons of his six-year career. After being designated as the franchise player, Suggs came to mandatory minicamps and held out for all of training camp. Still, he led the Ravens with eight sacks, was third with 102 tackles and his only two interceptions were returned for touchdowns, earning his third Pro Bowl appearance.
The former first-round draft pick had previously expressed his desire to stay in Baltimore and even suggested that he and fellow linebackers **Bart Scott** and Ray Lewis!(/team/roster/ray-lewis/1c6d5ed3-fe49-4a89-a6b5-9e358e906ae7/ "Ray Lewis"), who are both also up for free agency, take a "hometown discount" to stick together.
Recently, however, **Suggs told an Arizona radio station** that he wants no part of the franchise tag again.
"I like the city, I like the team," Suggs said last week. "If they don't see me in their future long-term, do not draw me out when I'm 26. At least let me explore my options.
"If you want me on your team then prove it, do something about it. But if not, we need to part ways and you know it's been a good run."
Throughout the offseason, there has been speculation as to other players the Ravens might franchise.
Lewis, a 10-time Pro Bowler, figured prominently into those discussions, as did center **Jason Brown**, another free-agent-to-be that became the lynchpin of Baltimore's young offensive line last season.
If Suggs does, in fact, receive the tag Thursday, Lewis, Scott and Brown – who are only three in a **long list of free agents** – would all officially hit the open market on Feb. 27 at 12:01 a.m.