Sources: Ravens, Justin Madubuike agree to 4-year, $98M deal

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens delivered a major win-win for the franchise Friday night, signing their sacks leader to a record-setting, long-term deal and freeing up much-needed salary cap space just before the start of free agency.

The Ravens announced they reached a four-year deal with defensive tackle Justin Madubuike, who set a career high last season with 13 sacks.

The agreement is worth $98 million, including $75.5 million in guarantees with $53.5 million at signing, sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

The deal is a record for defensive tackles in terms of guarantees in total and at signing. The $24.5 million average per year is second to only Aaron Donald ($31.6 million).

"Justin is one of the best defensive tackles in the entire NFL and a cornerstone on our defense," Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta said in a statement. "This is a great way to start the new league year!"

The Ravens had placed the franchise tag on Madubuike on Tuesday to make sure he wouldn't reach free agency. Now, Baltimore keeps its best defensive lineman and gains cap flexibility just three days before the start of the negotiating period of free agency.

Under the tag, Madubuike would have counted $22 million against the cap, putting the Ravens $10 million over. With his new deal, Baltimore could gain around $10 million in cap space, allowing the team to be more active in free agency.

The Ravens head into free agency needing a No. 1 running back and help on the offensive line and pass rush.

This deal continues a trend of the Ravens keeping their franchise-tagged players around long term. Baltimore has reached extensions with seven of the nine players it has tagged in franchise history.