Ravens will use franchise tag on Justin Tucker if no deal by deadline

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The Ravens have no desire to head into the 2016 season without kicker Justin Tucker and General Manager Ozzie Newsome said Wednesday that the team will do what’s necessary to make sure the impending unrestricted free agent remains in the fold.

The team would like to sign Tucker to a long-term extension in the next week and Newsome confirmed that there have been conversations about getting a deal done already this offseason. The deadline to use the franchise tag is fast approaching, however, and Newsome said from the Combine in Indianapolis on Wednesday that the team will use it on Tucker if no deal is reached by that time.

Kelechi Osemele is the only other realistic candidate for that kind of consideration among the Ravens set for free agency, although the lack of position-specific tags on the offensive line makes that a stretch since he’d be paid top money for a left tackle under that arrangement. Osemele did fill in at left tackle when Eugene Monroe was injured late in the season, but has been a guard for the majority of his career.

Tucker would cost around $4.5 million if he played out the year under the tag, although the Ravens would still have time to work out a long-term deal with a player that has been one of the league’s best at the position throughout his tenure in Baltimore.