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Ravens DT Justin Madubuike receives franchise tag after breakout 2023 season

Justin Madubuike is staying in Baltimore for at least another season after his breakout 2023 campaign.

The Ravens slapped the franchise tag on the star defensive tackle after the two sides couldn't agree to a long-term extension ahead of Tuesday's tag deadline, the team announced.

Baltimore general manager Eric DeCosta intimated last week that the Ravens preferred to get a multi-year deal done with Madubuike but would settle for the one-year tender. The two sides have until mid-July to reach a longer contract agreement.

"We were unable to agree on a contract extension with Justin before the deadline and will use the franchise tag," DeCosta said in a statement on Tuesday. "Justin is a great player and person, and we will continue to negotiate a long-term deal with him."

Madubuike, a third-round selection by the Ravens in the 2020 NFL Draft, will make roughly $22.1 million on the tag in 2024, a sizable -- and well-deserved -- salary increase from his $2.7 million in earnings last season.

The Ravens DT paced the NFL's top defense and all defensive tackles with a career-high 13 sacks in 2023. He had totaled just 8.5 sacks combined over his first three years in the league. Madubuike's monster year earned him his first Pro Bowl nod, a spot on the second-team All-Pro roster and even some consideration for AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Entering his fifth season, the 26-year-old interior defensive lineman was projected by's Gregg Rosenthal as the third-best available DT (behind Chris Jones and Christian Wilkins) and the No. 7 free agent ahead of the new league year.

Madubuike told's Grant Gordon last month that he considered Baltimore "home" but, before his first foray into free agency, would let the business of returning to Charm City "take care of itself."

With Tuesday's news, consider that business settled.

Certainty regarding Madubuike's situation frees up Baltimore to focus on potentially retaining other pending free agents such as linebacker Patrick Queen (No. 28), guards John Simpson (No. 43) and Kevin Zeitler (No. 65) and playmakers Odell Beckham (No. 89), J.K. Dobbins (No. 92) and Gus Edwards.

Madubuike, meanwhile, will return to a league-leading Ravens defense under new management, with former defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald coaching the Seahawks and former Baltimore player and insider linebacker coach Zach Orr, 31, as the new DC in BAL.

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