Agent: Suggs, team reach compromise on franchise tag

Deal on hybrid position needs league, union OK

Ravens

May 14, 2008|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN REPORTER

The Ravens and Terrell Suggs avoided a grievance by essentially creating a new position, Suggs' agent confirmed last night.

The sides reached an agreement on a one-year franchise tag tender worth close to $8.5 million, which will pay him as a hybrid defensive end-linebacker.

It is believed that the NFL Players Association and the NFL management council are finalizing details to sign off on the compromise.

"His job is to rush the quarterback as a defensive end, and I thought it was unfair that he had to live under the linebacker franchise tag," said Gary Wichard, Suggs' agent. "So, Ozzie [Newsome, Ravens general manager] and I said, `Let us resolve this as opposed to the attorneys.' I tip my hat off to Ozzie for creating a new franchise tag."

The Ravens used the franchise tag on Suggs on Feb. 19, keeping him off the free-agent market with a one-year tender worth $8.065 million (the average of the five highest-paid linebackers in the NFL).

But Suggs filed a grievance March 5, saying he should receive the one-year tag of $8.879 million for defensive ends because he played more than half his snaps at that position.

Suggs, 25, was the 10th overall selection in the 2003 draft.

In five NFL seasons, Suggs has recorded 45 sacks and has earned two Pro Bowl selections (2004 and 2006). Last season, he had a career-low five sacks but had a career-best 80 tackles.

He surprised the team by showing up at new coach John Harbaugh's first minicamp in April.

The next step is to see whether the Ravens can sign Suggs to an extension, keeping him with the team beyond this season.

Asked whether Suggs is open to an extension with the Ravens, Wichard said, "Absolutely."

Note -- The agent for first-round draft choice quarterback Joe Flacco met with Ravens officials Monday to begin contract negotiations.jamison.hensley@baltsun.com

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