Defensive tackle Justin Madubuike will be back with the Ravens in 2024

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta plans to keep Pro Bowl defensive tackle Justin Madubuike around for a while.

DeCosta confirmed at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis that the Ravens will place the franchise tag on Madubuike if they can’t reach a long-term deal by the March 5th deadline.

Madubuike would earn $22.1 million next season playing under the tag.

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

Madubuike, who was a third-round pick in 2020, led the Ravens and all defensive tackles in the NFL with 13 sacks. He also had 33 quarterback hits — ranked third in the league — and was named second-team All-Pro. His 11 straight games with at least a half-sack (Weeks 4-15) tied for the longest streak in NFL single-season history.

Madubuike earned a base salary of $2.74 million, so his next contract will be a significant pay raise even with the franchise tag. His preference is to stay in Baltimore, but he understands his value in the free-agent market.

“In terms of Baltimore, man, that’s home,” Madubuike said this offseason. “But, you know, business is business, and that side is going to take care of itself.”

The franchise tag would give the Ravens more time to negotiate a long-term deal with Madubuike. DeCosta’s comments likely mean the Ravens won’t place the franchise tag on inside linebacker Patrick Queen, which would cost them $22.8 million.

The Ravens already have $100 million invested in fellow inside linebacker Roquan Smith, so there is not much financial flexibility with Queen, who will test the free-agent market for the first time in his career.

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