There's less than four hours left for teams to officially use their franchise and transition tags, but don't expect the Ravens to slap either of the tags on one of their unrestricted free agents before the 4 p.m. deadline.
Some might question why the Ravens won't tag wide receiver Derrick Mason, who has expressed a desire to play next season, but has said he wants a two-year deal.
Why wouldn't they use the tag to guarantee that Mason will stick around Baltimore next season?
The reason is simple: last year, Mason earned a base salary of around $3 million; if the Ravens used the franchise tag on him (which would give him a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five wide receiver salaries), he would earn over $9.5 million this year.
If the Ravens put the transition tag on Mason (which would give him a one-year deal at an average of the top ten wide receiver salaries), the veteran wideout would be owed over $8.6 million.
That's just not going to happen.
None of Baltimore's other unrestricted free agents (DT Justin Bannan, DT Dwan Edwards, CB Corey Ivy, TE L.J. Smith, WR David Tyree, CB Frank Walker, WR Kelley Washington) are worthy of one of the tags, either.
The franchise and transition tags can be valuable tools when they're used properly. Last year, the Ravens hit Terrell Suggs with the franchise tag to officially keep him under contract. That move gave them more time to talk exclusively with the linebacker on a long-term deal, which eventually got finalized a few months later.
Unlike last year, the Ravens don't have a player worthy of the tag this time around. I don't really see Ivy, Smith, Tyree or Walker fitting the bill.