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On Wednesday, Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle, Michael Pierce signed his restricted free agent tender. The signing will make his return to Baltimore in 2019 official. Pierce became a restricted free agent after completing the 2018 season, but the Ravens wanted to commit to the young star. Baltimore placed a second-round tender on Pierce, meaning if that Pierce elected to sign with another club, Baltimore would receive a second round pick. In the end, Pierce never had the opportunity to leave. He signed no deal with another franchise, and by signing his RFA tender, he will stay on the Ravens for at least one more year.

Pierce joined the Ravens after going undrafted in the 2016 draft. He quickly made a name for himself in that year’s preseason. The Stamford product joined a long line of undrafted free agents to make the final 53-man roster in Baltimore. The decision to hold on to Pierce would prove to be the right one for Baltimore. In his three years with the Ravens, Pierce collected 116 total tackles, 3 sacks, and two fumble recoveries.

The second-round RFA tender Pierce signed will earn him $3,095,000 in 2019. For comparison, he only made $1.62 million during his first three years in Baltimore. Pierce will look for a long term, lucrative deal after 2019. The Ravens will be the first ones to try to write the check. General manager Eric DeCosta has stressed the need to keep young talent in Baltimore, and his strategy includes the extension of current contracts. By giving players the security they crave before they hit the open market, DeCosta can ensure that the Ravens are not beat out by teams with heaps of salary cap space available when negotiating with homegrown products. It is a strategy that makes logical sense, but DeCosta will need to balance everything as he moves forward. His next task will be to re-sign Pierce before he hits the open market.

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