Suggs: Deal Close

12 Days Until Training Camp

Franchise Player Hopeful As Deadline Approaches

July 15, 2009|By Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston | Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston,

As today's deadline approaches, linebacker Terrell Suggs remains optimistic that a long-term deal can be reached with the Ravens.

"Like I said before, it's just some minor things that both sides can compromise on and get an agreement," Suggs told The Baltimore Sun Tuesday. "I'm not stressing out over this because I've always thought there are only two things that can happen: We either get a deal done or we don't."

The NFL deadline for teams to sign their franchise players to multiyear deals is 4 p.m. today. If the Ravens fail to do so, a new contract can't be signed until after the season and Suggs will earn $10.2 million this year under the tag.

It was believed that negotiations were progressing 2 1/2 weeks ago, when Suggs said, "We are close to an agreement." But there were no signs that a deal was imminent when the sides talked late last week.

It is now believed that Suggs and the Ravens could agree on a deal that falls short of the one signed last year by the Minnesota Vikings' Jared Allen (six years for $72.3 million including $31 million guaranteed).

"I think if we got a deal done, it would be good for everybody," Suggs said Tuesday. "We're a team that is close to getting over the hump. The fans want to see me in training camp on time, and I want to be there on time."

This is the second straight year the Ravens have used the tag on Suggs, a three-time Pro Bowl linebacker. Last year, Suggs skipped training camp and reported days before the third preseason game.

Asked whether he would arrive at training camp on time under the franchise tag, he said: "I don't know. That's a decision I'll make, but not before I talk to Coach Harbs [John Harbaugh], Coach [Greg] Mattison and definitely my teammates."

The Ravens' focus turned away from Suggs on Monday, when wide receiver Derrick Mason unexpectedly retired.

If Mason files his retirement papers, the Ravens would gain $3 million in salary cap space. Suggs said that extra cap room wouldn't go toward his new deal.

"If he retires, it just creates room for us to go out and sign more quality players, a player who can replace him," Suggs said. "Quite honestly, I was surprised to see him retire. It's one thing when a player can't do it anymore, but Mase was still playing at a high level. I just think he has a lot of things going on. He played with one arm last season and had shoulder surgery. Then, one of his best friends [quarterback Steve McNair] just died. It's tough."

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