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Justin Tucker Franchise-Tagged by Ravens: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Baltimore Ravens' Justin Tucker (9) reacts his his field goal during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Baltimore, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Nick Wass/Associated Press
Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2016

The Baltimore Ravens locked up one of the NFL's most reliable kickers for the 2016 season on Feb. 26, as Justin Tucker was given the franchise tag.  

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Tucker's agent, Robert Roche, announced the Ravens' decision. On Friday, the Ravens announced Tucker signed the franchise tag offer. 

Although the franchise tag numbers aren't yet finalized, Tucker is expected to make roughly $4.5 million this coming season, per Mike Garafolo of Fox Sports. NFL on ESPN noted that number will net Tucker more than he earned in his first four seasons combined.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome foreshadowed the move Feb. 24, but he also made it clear that a long-term deal is still the ultimate goal, per the team's official Twitter account: "We've had some discussions but we will franchise Justin if we do not get a deal done. Even if we do franchise him, we will continue to work to negotiate to try and get a deal done."

The University of Texas product was named to the Pro Bowl and the All-Pro first team in 2013, and he has continued to produce in the two seasons since then.

With a career field-goal success rate of 87.8 percent, he is currently second on the all-time list behind only Dan Bailey of the Dallas Cowboys.

While Tucker's numbers dropped off a bit in 2015, with a career-low field-goal percentage of 82.5 percent, he didn't miss any of his 29 extra-point attempts, which was a leaguewide issue for kickers after the spot was moved back.

Tucker was among the top performers for a Ravens team that struggled to a 5-11 record due largely to myriad injuries to key players, such as quarterback Joe Flacco, running back Justin Forsett, wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. and pass-rusher Terrell Suggs.

Baltimore still has a talented roster that is capable of contending for a playoff spot when healthy, and if it can avoid the injury bug in 2016, Tucker's accurate kicking could turn out to be the difference between sitting at home or playing extra football next season.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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