Ravens to franchise Suggs if they can't sign him to long-term deal

NFL teams in need of help at linebacker can cross
Terrell Suggs off their wish list.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Monday that if the team can't work out a long-term deal with the star linebacker, Baltimore will place the franchise tag on him to keep him off the free-agent market.

The NFL deadline to use the franchise tag is Feb. 21.

"We will be using the franchise tag on Terrell if we don't have a long-term deal in place between now and then," Newsome told the Baltimore Sun.

If the Ravens use the franchise tag on Suggs and he can't work out a long-term deal with the team, the linebacker will be paid $8.065 million for the 2008 season -- the average of the five highest-paid NFL linebackers.

"At his position, we feel like he's one of the top two or three outside linebackers in the game. He does a very good job against the run and the pass," Newsome told the Carroll County Times.

Suggs, picked with the 10th overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft out of Arizona State, recorded 78 tackles and five sacks last season. He has had three seasons of 10 or more sacks in his five-year NFL career. He has 45 career quarterback sacks.