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Ravens likely to franchise tag Justin Madubuike if no deal by deadline

Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike is No. 5 on PFT’s list of this offseason’s top free agents, but it doesn’t sound like the Ravens will be letting him hit the open market.

Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta held a press conference at the Scouting Combine on Tuesday and he said that the team is working to sign Madubuike to a contract that will keep him in Baltimore for years to come.

“We’re trying to get a deal done,” DeCosta said. “We’ve had discussions with Justin. He’s a guy that has obviously put himself in a fortuitous position this year by the way that he played. Had a great season for us, he’s a valued player on the team and we’re hopeful we can get a long-term deal done.”

Should those talks fail to progress, DeCosta said the team will “probably” use a franchise tag on Madubuike ahead of the March 5 deadline to do so. That would keep their negotiating window for a longer deal open until mid-July, but all involved would likely be happier if the team can avoid going that route.