The Ravens have placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, and while they intend to continue negotiating a long-term deal with the two-time Pro Bowler, they've ensured that Ngata will be back for the 2011 season at the very least.
Now, the Ravens will turn their attention to offensive guard/tackle Marshal Yanda.
During head coach John Harbaugh's press conference in Indianapolis today at the NFL Scouting Combine, he said that it will be important for the Ravens to get Yanda - who will likely be an unrestricted free agent this offseason - signed to a multiyear deal.
"That's going to be a priority for us," Harbaugh told reporters in Indianapolis. "I think he's a good player, obviously, a very good player. He's one of my favorite guys. He knows that. As a coach you want those guys back."
The Ravens might be making progress on a deal with Yanda; the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reports that the two sides have been talking and hope to reach a contract before the March 4 collective bargaining agreement deadline.
Yanda isn't just a favorite of Harbaugh's; he's well-liked throughout the Ravens organization because of his work ethic, physical nature and willingness to play wherever he's asked.
The Iowa product lined up at right tackle during the 2010 season because the Ravens had a need at that spot following a training camp injury to Jared Gaither. The Ravens would prefer to move Yanda back to right guard, where he's become a Pro Bowl-caliber player, but if they are unable to find a quality tackle through free agency or the draft, Yanda could return to right tackle in 2011.
First, however, the Ravens would need to get him signed. They've made upgrading their offensive line and improving their running game a priority this offseason, and getting Yanda under contract would be a big step in the right direction on both fronts.
"I think the foundation is your offensive line on offense, no doubt," Harbaugh said. "Your quarterback and your offensive line is where it starts."