The Eagles, Patriots, Jets and Chargers have exercised their right to franchise players in the past couple of days even though it might not hold up after the labor Armageddon. The Ravens have now done the same with Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.
The Ravens on Tuesday placed the franchise tag on Ngata, ensuring he will remain in the Ravens' control for 2011. The NFLPA is questioning the validity of the franchise and transitional tags, but that hasn't stopped Ngata, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Patriots guard Logan Mankins, Jets linebacker David Harris and Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson from getting tagged.
The Ravens will pay their Ngata somewhere in the neighborhood of $12.5 million in 2010. Ngata reportedly made $1.7 million last season, according to Sports Illustrated, so that's a pretty decent raise for the big man.
The Ravens have locked down coach John Harbaugh and specialists Billy Cundiff and Sam Koch, but re-signing Ngata to a long-term extension has been -- and still is -- the team's biggest offseason priority.
“Putting a franchise tag on a player is part of the process that hopefully leads us to an agreement between us and the players,” Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome told my colleague Jamison Hensley on Tuesday.
An extension won't get worked out until the new collective bargaining agreement gets worked out, whenever that will be. (Update: Apparently, it's illegal under the current CBA, and here's why.)
But at least we now know Ngata will be playing for the Ravens in 2011 -- if there is a season to be played.