The Ravens and kicker Justin Tucker are almost out of time.
The two sides have until Friday at 4 p.m. to reach a long-term agreement, or Tucker must play the 2016 season under the franchise tag, which the Ravens applied back in February.
At that time, it was considered a foregone conclusion that the team and their Pro Bowl kicker would reach an agreement on a long-term extension by the July 15 deadline. And to be sure, they still might.=
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Tucker has said all along that he hopes to stay with the Ravens -- unlike many tagged players, he fully participated in OTA workouts -- and the Ravens have said all along that they hope to keep Tucker for the long haul. So it seems both sides want a deal to happen. The Ravens and other teams have frequently gone down to the wire getting such deals done.
What happens, though, if it doesn't?
The short answer is nothing; Tucker will be under contract for 2016, and will make a nice salary of $4.5 million.
The question is, would there be any fallout if a deal can't get done?
The Ravens would have their kicker eating up $4.5 million in cap space, seventh-most on the team. Any new deal would certainly lower that, although the Ravens aren't as tight up against the cap as in the past after jettisoning tackle Eugene Monroe, a move that freed up more than $6 million in cap space. Still, the Ravens would like to have more spending power, which translates into roster flexibility should the need arise.
But if a deal isn't reached, does Tucker's future become a distraction? And would that affect Tucker, who has been one of the most accurate, reliable and clutch kickers in his four-year NFL career?
Tucker ranks second in NFL history in field-goal accuracy at 87.8 percent and has kicked 10 game-winners, including three in 2015.
And would Tucker harbor any ill will toward the Ravens if they can't or won't guarantee his services beyond 2016? Does it make him more likely to look elsewhere when 2017 free agency rolls around?
Truth is, the Ravens would have the option of using the franchise tag on Tucker again in 2017, at a salary and cap hit that would figure to rise above $5 million. (The Ravens tagged Terrell Suggs in 2008 and again in 2009, but worked out a deal before the 2009 deadline.)
So for those two years, Tucker would still rake in more than $9 million, a nice chunk for his growing family -- his wife had the couple's first child earlier this year.
But Tucker no doubt would like a long-term commitment from the Ravens and surely is looking closely at Stephen Gostkowski's contract; last summer Gostkowski and the Patriots worked out a four-year, $17.2 million deal with $10 million guaranteed.
Gostkowski, incidentally, had been tagged by the Patriots and then finalized the new deal just before the July deadline. Sound familiar?
We'll know by Friday whether Tucker follows suit.