Finally, an answer from Terrell Suggs as multiple web reports indicate that the Ravens defensive machine has inked a 6-year, $63 million deal with the franchise, which would avert the need for a $10.2 franchise tag for the 2009 season.
From John Clayton of ESPN:
“The key to the contract was the structure. Suggs will receive signing bonus and option bonus money that will total $33.1 million in 2009 and 2010, according to a source. That is believed to be second only to Peyton Manning, who received a $34 million signing bonus. Defensive end Dwight Freeney received $31.5 million in signing and option bonus money during the first two years of his contract with the Colts. Freeney and Suggs were both represented by Gary Wichard.
Suggs had until 4 p.m. ET to sign a long-term deal. Had he not found the long-term solution, he would have played the season at $10.17 million and become a free agent next season. Now, on a long-term deal, Suggs becomes the highest paid linebacker in NFL history.
The payout of the contract was the reason for the signing. Over the first two years of the contract, Suggs will make $40 million. Over the first three years, he will make $43.4 million. Over the first four years, he will make $48.3 million.”
From the Ravens PR side: “Getting a deal done with Terrell is consistent with our history of retaining our best Pro Bowl players, like Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Jonathan Ogden, Todd Heap and Jamal Lewis,” Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. “Securing Terrell for six seasons gives us a premier pass-rusher whose ability to stop the run does not get enough credit.
“When I think of what Terrell can do for us — the AFC championship game immediately comes to mind when he sacked Big Ben [Ben Roethlisberger] two times even while playing with an injured shoulder. This will be Suggs’ seventh season, and he is still a young player [Suggs will be 26 at the start of the season]. Remember, he came to us as a 20-year old rookie after his junior year in college. This is a good day for the Ravens franchise.”
From John Harbaugh: “This is such good news. I was already excited to start training camp, and now having Terrell there makes it that much better. He is a great player, a tremendous person and an outstanding young leader. You guys know that he energizes our practices. He brings that vitality to the game, and he makes the locker room fun. He’s a foundation for our defense to stay at the highest level. Having him in training camp will take him to higher levels.”
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