Talks progressing with McAlister

By assigning cornerback Chris McAlister with the franchise designation, the Baltimore Ravens secured their top defensive back to a one-year tender offer of $5.9 million. The possibility of another NFL club signing McAlister to an offer sheet is an unlikely scenario because the price of compensation is two first-round draft picks. The Ravens' ultimate goal is to secure McAlister's services to a long-term contract extension. Here's the status:

The Ravens have until March 15 to sign McAlister to a new contract, and still retain the right to assign the franchise tag to another player next season. If they signed him to a new deal between March 15 and July 15, they would face the penalty of not being able to franchise another player over the length of McAlister's new contract. If the Ravens sign McAlister after July 15, there is no penalty and they would be free to use the franchise tag next season.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said Thursday that talks with McAlister's agent, Mitch Frankel, remain productive.

"We are set to talk with Mitch again sometime this week," Newsome said. "We have the 21-day window, that ends on the 14th. We're moving forward. Whether a deal is going to get done, I can't predict right now.

"I feel like we definitely want to. I think Mitch and Chris definitely want to. When you have those things working together, there's a good chance it might happen."

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