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Ravens franchise tag history: Who got tagged, and what happened next

After outside linebacker Matthew Judon and the Ravens failed to reach an agreement on a long-term deal before Wednesday’s deadline, Judon will become the first Ravens player in 12 years to play an entire regular season on the franchise tag.

Judon — who is set to make $16.8 million in 2020 — is the fourth player overall to compete for the Ravens under the tag, which has usually resulted in a long-term extension in Baltimore.

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Here’s a look back at the previous players to earn the franchise tag from the Ravens, and what happened next:

Guard/center Wally Williams (1998)

WESTMINSTER--8/18/98--Wally Williams, Ravens starting center, was hitting hard at training camp Tuesday. staff photo/Elizabeth Malby
WESTMINSTER--8/18/98--Wally Williams, Ravens starting center, was hitting hard at training camp Tuesday. staff photo/Elizabeth Malby (Elizabeth Malby / XX)

Why he was tagged: After starting 23 games at center in two seasons with the Ravens, Williams became the first player in franchise history to receive the franchise tag. He was penalized just six times during that span, and Baltimore Sun columnist Mike Preston included Williams as the starting center on his all-time Ravens team.

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What happened next: Williams moved to left guard in 1998 and started 13 games playing under the tag as the Ravens finished 6-10. He failed to reach a long-term agreement with the team and instead signed a five-year, $18.5 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. Williams suffered a neck injury and missed 10 games in his first season in New Orleans, but recovered to start all but one game the next two seasons. He eventually lost his starting job and was cut in 2003, ending his NFL career. He remains the only player in Ravens franchise history to receive the tag and not sign a long-term deal with Baltimore.

Cornerback Chris McAlister (2003 and 2004)

Baltimore Ravens' Chris McAlister runs the ball into the end zone after intercepting a pass by Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman in the third quarter of their football game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006 in Baltimore. The Ravens won 19-7.(AP Photo/Gail Burton) ORG XMIT: BAF107
Baltimore Ravens' Chris McAlister runs the ball into the end zone after intercepting a pass by Buffalo Bills quarterback J.P. Losman in the third quarter of their football game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2006 in Baltimore. The Ravens won 19-7.(AP Photo/Gail Burton) ORG XMIT: BAF107 (Gail Burton / Associated Press)

Why he was tagged: A first-round pick (10th overall) by the Ravens in 1999, McAlister became a key part of the team’s fearsome defense in 2000 as the franchise won its first Super Bowl title. Entering 2003, he had 11 interceptions in his first four seasons and missed just three games.

What happened next: McAlister received the franchise tag for the first time in 2003 and was named to the Pro Bowl and selected as a first-team All Pro that year. He was tagged again the following season and earned his second straight Pro Bowl nod. Midway through the 2004 season, the 27-year-old signed a seven-year, $55 million contract extension. He played four more seasons in Baltimore, earning a Pro Bowl selection in 2006, before playing one year with the Saints in 2009 and winning a second Super Bowl title.

Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (2008 and 2009)

Baltimore, Md.--1/6/19-- The Ravens' Terrell Suggs plays to the crowd during players introduction before NFL wild card game against the Chargers at M & T Bank Stadium. Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun sp-ravens-wildcard- Lam DSC_8443
Baltimore, Md.--1/6/19-- The Ravens' Terrell Suggs plays to the crowd during players introduction before NFL wild card game against the Chargers at M & T Bank Stadium. Kenneth K. Lam/The Baltimore Sun sp-ravens-wildcard- Lam DSC_8443 (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

Why he was tagged: Suggs was the 10th overall pick in the 2003 draft and instantly made his mark, earning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors after recording 12 sacks, three forced fumbles and an interception. When his rookie deal was up at the end of the 2007 season, he was a two-time Pro Bowl selection with 45 sacks.

What happened next: After earning $10 million his first five seasons, Suggs received $8.4 million on the franchise tag in 2008. He initially filed a grievance against the team after being designated as a linebacker rather than a defensive end, which resulted in a new position for franchise tags that covered hybrid 3-4 players that was calculated by averaging the tender amount for each position. Suggs had eight sacks in 2008, earning his third Pro Bowl nod, and received the franchise tag again. However, he and the Ravens agreed to a six-year, $62.5 million contract before the deadline, making Suggs the highest-paid linebacker in the league. He went on to become the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, won the Super Bowl in 2012 and set the franchise record for sacks before signing with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent in 2019. He added a second Super Bowl ring last season after joining the Kansas City Chiefs midseason.

Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (2011)

Haloti Ngata celebrates the Ravens' win with fans.
Haloti Ngata celebrates the Ravens' win with fans. (Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.)

Why he was tagged: The 12th overall pick in the 2006 draft, Ngata blossomed into an All-Pro player and one of the league’s best interior linemen. He entered free agency coming off the best season of his career, recording 63 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5 ½ sacks and earning his second straight Pro Bowl selection, as well as first-team All-Pro honors.

What happened next: Ngata received the franchise tag early in the offseason, which was worth around $12.5 million. At the time, both general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh expressed optimism about signing Ngata to a long-term deal. In September, Ngata and the Ravens agreed to a five-year extension worth $61 million, including $41 million over the first two years. He earned Pro Bowl honors each of the next three seasons, helping the Ravens win the Super Bowl in 2012, before being traded to the Detroit Lions along with a seventh-round pick for fourth- and fifth-round selections. He spent three seasons in Detroit and one year with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 before retiring.

Running back Ray Rice (2012)

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after he scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 12: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after he scored a 1-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter against the Denver Broncos during the AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on January 12, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images) (Jeff Gross / Getty Images)

Why he was tagged: Rice, a second-round pick in 2008, became one of the league’s top running backs during his rookie contract, earning Pro Bowl nods in 2009 and 2011. He entered free agency coming off a season in which he led the league with 2,068 yards from scrimmage and helped the Ravens reach the AFC title game.

What happened next: In 2012, Rice received the franchise tag for running backs worth $7.7 million, with the team focused on signing him to a long-term deal. Just minutes before the deadline, Rice received a five-year, $40 million extension that included $24 million in guaranteed money, making him the third-highest paid running back in the league. He earned a second straight Pro Bowl selection the following season as the Ravens won the Super Bowl, but was limited by injuries in 2013. It turned out to be his final season in the league, as the Ravens released Rice and terminated his contract in September 2014 following an indefinite suspension for domestic violence after video surfaced of him punching his fiancee Janay Palmer in the elevator of an Atlantic City casino. Rice and the Ravens eventually reached a settlement on his wrongful termination grievance worth $1.588 million.

Kicker Justin Tucker (2016)

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2019, file photo, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) is carried off field by his teammates after making a game winning field goal against the San Francisco 49ers in an NFL football game in Baltimore, Md. Baltimore won 20-17. Tucker was selected to the 2010s NFL All-Decade Team announced Monday, April 6, 2020, by the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2019, file photo, Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) is carried off field by his teammates after making a game winning field goal against the San Francisco 49ers in an NFL football game in Baltimore, Md. Baltimore won 20-17. Tucker was selected to the 2010s NFL All-Decade Team announced Monday, April 6, 2020, by the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Why he was tagged: After signing with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2012, Tucker quickly became one of the most accurate kickers in the league. He was named a first-team All-Pro in 2013 after converting 38 of his 41 field-goal attempts and never missed an extra point during his first five seasons. He entered free agency in 2016 after earning his second All-Pro nod, making 38 of 39 attempts.

What happened next: Tucker earned the franchise tag in 2016, but as recent team history shows, that just meant a long-term deal was coming. Tucker signed a four-year, $16.8 million deal with a $6 million signing bonus, making him the second-highest paid kicker in the league behind the New England Patriots’ Stephen Gostkowski. He continued to perform at a high level, becoming the most accurate kicker in league history and earning All-Pro nods in 2018 and 2019. Before the start of last season, Tucker signed a four-year extension worth $20.45 million, which included $12.5 million fully guaranteed in the first two years and an $8 million signing bonus — all records for a kicker.

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