The Ravens want to reach a long-term contract with Ngata so they can make sure the Pro Bowl defensive tackle stays in Baltimore for years to come, and so they can clear some salary cap space this season.
Now, it’s just a matter of the two sides coming together and getting the deal done.
Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome will begin talks with Ngata’s agent in the next few days, according to reports. For his part, Ngata says he’s staying out of all the contract discussions, and plans on getting an update from his agent tonight.
“I leave all business to my agent,” Ngata said. “I don’t really worry about it. I just try to be out here and produce as much as I can.”
The Ravens placed their franchise tag on Ngata prior to the lockout, guaranteeing the five-year veteran nearly $12.5 million this season. If a long-term contract extension is reached, however, Ngata’s 2011 salary would decrease, giving the Ravens more financial flexibility during the current free agent period.
Most players dislike playing under the franchise tag because it is only a one-year contract and offers no security should the player suffer an injury during the season. Ngata says he’s OK with being designated as a franchise player, but would prefer to reach a deal with the Ravens and put this issue behind him.
“I don’t mind it,” Ngata said. “As long as I can get that long-term contract, that’s what I am really trying to shoot for. But right now, I am just basically trying to be out here and helping the guys out.”