The clock is ticking.
The Ravens now have less than an hour and a half to finalize a long-term deal with Haloti Ngata, or else their Pro Bowl defensive tackle will be forced to play out the 2011 season under the franchise tag. If a deal cannot be reached, Ngata would earn nearly $12.5 million this season, but he and the Ravens would not be able to work out a new contract until next offseason, when Ngata is set to become an unrestricted free agent.
While the two sides have not been all that close to a deal in recent days, word now is they might be closing in on a deal. NFL Network is reporting an agreement on a long-term contract is "close," but we'll have to see how this plays out.
Tick, tick, tick...
Meanwhile, Michael Oher's false starts have returned, and the Ravens aren't happy about it.
Last season, the 2009 first-round pick was flagged for a team-high eight false start penalties, and was whistled for 11 infractions overall.
After a clean season opener against the Steelers, Oher found his way back into the penalty column during Sunday's 26-13 loss to the Titans.
The right tackle was called for two more false starts, one of which came with the Ravens driving deep in Tennessee territory in the second quarter.
In his Monday afternoon press conference, head coach John Harbaugh was asked if he feels reporters are making too big a deal about Oher's chronic false start issues.
"No, you're not making too much of it," Harbaugh responded. "Nobody is more frustrated with it than Michael. There's no reason for it. It's illogical. It makes no sense. Michael Oher is a great athlete. There's nobody out there... There's no quicker offensive tackle in football than Michael, so he doesn't have to beat the snap count. And that's got to stop.
"We've said it before, and my advice to Michael is basically just, 'Slow down. Just slow down with your first set. When the ball is snapped, you'll set. Nobody is running around you. They're not going to run around you; you're too quick.' So, that's something that we have to get done."
Harbaugh's right; Oher's quickness is one of his strengths, and given his speed for a guy his size, he doesn't need to be trying to get an extra split-second of a head start.
Oher has played fairly well so far upon his return to the right tackle position he occupied back in 2009. There are bound to be some rough spots along the way as he transitions back to the right side, but he can't let this trend of jumping too early continue.