It took a while, but the Ravens and Haloti Ngata have finally reached an agreement on a much-deserved contract extension.
The Ravens have officially announced that they've signed the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle to a five-year deal. Ngata's agent, Mike McCartney, initially broke that a deal had been reached via his Twitter account.
The contract is technically a four-year extension, with the Ravens essentially buying out Ngata's one-year franchise tag in 2011. With the new deal in place, Ngata will be under contract through 2015.
ESPN is reporting that the contract is worth $61 million overall, and that Ngata will make $40 million in guaranteed money in the first two years of the contract.
The Ravens and Ngata took their negotiations down to the wire; they had until 4:00 p.m. today to reach an extension, or else Ngata would have needed to play this season under the franchise tag.
The deal is a big win for both sides, as the Ravens lock up one of the top defensive players in the league for at least a few more years and clear salary cap room for this season, and Ngata gets to stay in Baltimore with the long-term security he was hoping for.
Ngata has been a force since his first day with the Ravens, but over his five NFL seasons, he's slowly developed into arguably the most dominant defensive lineman in the league. He's made the Pro Bowl each of the last two years, and in just two games this season, Ngata has already recorded 10 tackles (six of which were solos), two pass deflections that have both resulted in interceptions, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
The length of this new contract will actually allow Ngata a chance to earn one more big payday if he's able to continue producing at his current level. The Ravens' 2006 first-round pick will be just 32 years old by the time he's a free agent in 2015, and could be in line for another hefty contract at that point.
With Ngata now out of the way, GM Ozzie Newsome can crack open a cold one and smile for now, but he'll have more contract negotiations coming soon, as both Joe Flacco and Ray Rice will be calling and asking for a new deal.
Flacco is under contract until 2012 but has been vocal about wanting a new contract, while Rice's current deal expires after this season.