OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens used their franchise tag on Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs for the second consecutive year Wednesday, a transaction that costs the team $10.2 million against the 2009 salary cap.
A three-time Pro Bowl selection who led the Ravens with eight sacks while recording a career-high 102 tackles last season, Suggs was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. Now he's under contract in Baltimore for at least one more year after playing last season under an $8.5 million franchise tag.
The Ravens have been negotiating with Suggs' agent for the past few seasons in hopes of striking a long-term deal.
"Our plan is to sign 'Sizzle' to a long-term contract," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement released by the team. "We believe our history of keeping our best players for a long time speaks for itself."
Because the Ravens used their franchise tag on Suggs, fellow linebackers Ray Lewis and Bart Scott likely will become unrestricted free agents Feb. 27, free to test the market.
Suggs, who wasn't immediately available to comment, might not be thrilled with being the franchise player again.
Although Suggs has said he's not opposed to the franchise tag and has repeatedly said that he wants to continue playing for the Ravens, he told an Arizona radio station last weekend that he was reluctant to be given the designation again.
"I like the city, I like the team," Suggs said. "If they don't see me in their future long-term, do not draw me out when I'm 26. At least let me explore my options. If you want me on your team, then prove it, do something about it. But if not, we need to part ways and you know it's been a good run."
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press