Ravens undecided on J.Lewis

OWINGS MILLS - The Baltimore Ravens haven't decided whether or not they'll assign the franchise tag to running back Jamal Lewis or allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

"We're still in the process of making that decision," Newsome said.

The NFL has a Feb. 23 deadline to make franchise designations.

Retaining Lewis would require a one-year franchise tender of roughly $6 million. Not franchising Lewis would boost an already potentially rich free agent market of NFL Most Valuable Player Shaun Alexander and Indianapolis Colts All-Pro Edgerrin James.

It appears unlikely that Lewis will receive a long-term contract extension prior to free agency. His six-year rookie contract worth $35.5 million has expired.

Lewis is coming off a career-low 906-yard rushing season that followed ankle surgery and four months in a federal prison after a plea bargain in a federal cocaine conspiracy case.

The Ravens could franchise Lewis and then possibly trade him. The NFL rumor mill has speculated about a potential swap with the Minnesota Vikings for quarterback Daunte Culpepper.

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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