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Ravens place the franchise tag on DT Justin Madubuike

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta had previously made it clear that the organization would place the franchise tag on star defensive tackle Justin Madubuike if no deal could be reached.

With the March 5 deadline in effect, Baltimore has in fact placed the tag on the All-Pro defensive tackle DeCosta confirmed.

Madubuike, 26, bet on himself last spring, and he’s is coming off a breakout season in which he produced a career-high 13 sacks for a Ravens defense that led the NFL with 60 sacks last season. Madubuike totaled more sacks last season than he did in his first three seasons combined (8.5 sacks).

Madubuike’s 13 sacks last year are the fifth-most in a single season by a Baltimore player and are tied for the most by a Ravens defensive tackle.

With All-Pro linebacker Patrick Queen likely depart for a massive free agent deal, retaining Madubuike is the Ravens biggest priority in a key offseason that’ll see 26 players test free agency.

Story originally appeared on Ravens Wire