Baltimore loses bid for Cofield as Memphis signs rush end

March 13, 1995|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Sun Staff Writer

Tim Cofield, the No. 1 free agent on Baltimore's wish list, has agreed to a two-year contract with the Memphis Mad Dogs expansion team in the Canadian Football League.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound rush end was considered the best defensive player in this season's free-agent market.

Quarterback Matt Dunigan, the biggest name among offensive free agents, reached terms as Birmingham's marquee player yesterday.

Cofield, 30, chose Memphis after a whirlwind tour of five CFL teams and four NFL teams, his Houston-based agent Gary Kovac said. When Cofield visited Baltimore two weeks ago, he said it topped his list.

Kovac said Baltimore fell out of contention when no one from the team called him during the weekend as Cofield made his decision.

"I got a late call [from Baltimore], and they said we didn't give them a shot," Kovac said. "They said they wished they had an opportunity. The opportunity was there. I just didn't get the phone call."

Kovac also said a clause in nose tackle Jearld Baylis' contract contributed to the Memphis decision. The clause will keep Baylis the highest-paid defensive player, at $95,000 a year, in Baltimore the next two seasons.

"If you look at the last two years of their play [Cofield and Baylis], there's no reason Baylis should be higher paid than Timmy," Kovac said.

Baltimore coach Don Matthews expressed disappointment over losing Cofield, and doubt about whether he really wanted to come.

"We got outbid," Matthews said. "There's not much we can do about it. We couldn't change our offer. We were extended as far as we could."

Still, Kovac said Baltimore's offer was "15 to 20 percent" less than offers by Memphis and Birmingham. Kovac said Memphis had the edge because it was closer to Cofield's Kansas City home and because Tennessee has no state tax, while Alabama does.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.