Ngata deal is key to Ravens future

Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata reached a five-year deal with the Ravens, which was announced by his agent on Twitter.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Ngata's deal is worth $61 million, including $40 million in the first two years. He is under contract through the 2015 season.

The deal was finalized an hour before Tuesday's deadline to lock up players under the franchise tag. Ngata is a two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle who has 10 tackles, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries in two games this season.

"For me to be here another five years is great," Ngata said in a statement released by the team. "Hopefully, I can be here and retire here."

Here are the ramifications of the deal:

  • The Ravens obviously lock up one of the best defensive players in the NFL, who commands double-teams on nearly every play. The scary part -- Ngata is just reaching his prime.

  • With aging stars such as Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, Baltimore will begin to lean on Ngata and Terrell Suggs to be leaders for a defense that has ranked in the top 10 for eight straight seasons. Ngata is 27. Suggs, 29, signed a six-year deal before the 2009 season.

  • The Ravens' run defense will remain strong for a long time. Since Ngata was drafted by the Ravens with the 12th overall pick in 2006, Baltimore has finished second, second, third, fifth and fifth in run defense from 2006 to 2010. The Ravens currently rank fourth, giving up an average of 70 yards rushing per game.

  • This will help the Ravens as far as cap room now and next season. If the Ravens had to franchise Ngata again in 2012 to keep him out of free agency, he would have received at least $15 million that season.