Ravens franchise Suggs at LB; he says he should be DE

Updated: February 19, 2008, 2:23 PM ET
By John Clayton | ESPN.com

With no long-term contract in sight before Thursday's deadline, the Baltimore Ravens applied the team's franchise tag to linebacker Terrell Suggs on Tuesday.

Suggs
Suggs

The interesting twist to Suggs' franchising is whether or not it's being done at the right position. The Ravens franchised Suggs as a linebacker, which gives him a one-year tender offer at $8.065 million. Suggs claims he played more than 50 percent of the Ravens defensive snaps at defensive end, which has an $8.879 million tender offer.

Suggs is expected to challenge the designation in order to have a complete breakdown of the defensive snaps to determine if he should be an end or a linebacker. If the league and the NFL Players Association determines more than 50 percent of the snaps for Suggs happened at defensive end, a ruling may allow him to get the defensive end designation and get a raise of $814,000.

Regardless, the mission of both sides is to get a long-term deal before mid-July to prevent a holdout.

"I talked to [general manager] Ozzie [Newsome] earlier [Monday], and he said they would put the tag on me [Tuesday]," Suggs told The Baltimore Sun. "I'm disappointed because I really wanted a long-term deal, and I think I earned it. But this also keeps me in a Ravens uniform, and this is just another way of eventually getting it done.

"I'm a Raven at heart. That's my identity," Suggs told the newspaper. "I started my career here in Baltimore and want to end it here in Baltimore."

Newsome is hopeful a long-term deal with Suggs will get done.

"We will continue to negotiate with [Suggs] with the intention of signing him to a long-term contract," Newsome said in a statement released by the team. "He is one of our best players, and our success with re-signing our best players is very good. We've done this with players like Jonathan Ogden, Ray Lewis, Todd Heap, Ed Reed and Chris McAlister -- and that was after we franchised Chris."

Suggs has evolved into one of the league's most dangerous pass-rushers whether he is blitzing a linebacker or rushing from defensive end with one hand on the ground when the ball is snapped. The Ravens didn't want to lose him, and even though they don't like to franchise their top unsigned players, they didn't want to lose him to free agency.

John Clayton covers the NFL for ESPN.com.

John Clayton

NFL senior writer

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