The Ravens placed the franchise tag on Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, the team announced Tuesday.
Ngata, 27, will receive a one-year tender estimated at $12.5 million, which is the projected franchise number for defensive tackles. The franchise tag allows teams to keep their most valuable free agent off the market by paying him the average salary of the top five players at his position.
Placing the franchise designation on Ngata, who was voted as the team Most Valuable Player by the media, doesn't preclude the Ravens from signing the two-time Pro Bowl player to a long-term deal when a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.
The last two players who have received the franchise tag from the Ravens – cornerback Chris McAlister and linebacker Terrell Suggs – eventually signed long-term contracts with the team.
"The tender allows us to secure Haloti as a Raven right now," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "As we have said, our intention is to enter into a long-term contract with him. We want him to be a Raven."
Four players had already received the tag, including three on Tuesday (Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick, San Diego wide receiver Vincent Jackson and New York Jets linebacker David Harris). New England guard Logan Mankins was the first player tagged this offseason.
Others expected to get the tag are: Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning, Pittsburgh linebacker LaMarr Woodley and Kansas City linebacker Tamba Ali.
The 14-day window to apply the tag ends on Feb. 24.
Ngata is looking for a deal that is similar to the one signed by rookie Ndamukong Suh, who signed a five-year, $68 million contract with Detroit that includes $40 million guaranteed.
Since being the 12th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Ngata is the anchor of a defensive line that has surrendered a league-low 31 rushing touchdowns and the NFL's second-fewest rushing first downs.
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