Jonathan Ogden expected to get $6.5M bonus to sign


Ravens' top pick close to seven-year deal

July 13, 1996|By Mike Preston | The Baltimore Sun

The Ravens and the agent for UCLA offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden spent yesterday fine-tuning an agreement that would have the No. 1 draft pick at Western Maryland College in time for the start of training camp Monday.

The Ravens and Ogden have agreed to a contract in principle, and a team source said Ogden will most likely sign a seven-year contract that will include a signing bonus of nearly $6.5 million and count between $1.67 million and $1.68 million against the 1996 salary cap.

In that scenario, Ogden would make about $750,000 in base salary the first year and the amount would increase by nearly $187,500 each season for the remainder of his contract. The final year would be for nearly $1.9 million in base salary, with $2.8 million going against the cap.

"It's not a done deal yet. We're still moving some things around," said Ravens owner Art Modell, who at one time had an unprecedented $8 million rookie signing bonus offer on the table to Ogden. "But I think Jonathan Ogden will be worth his price.

"It's hard to find great linemen, especially on the left side, so we feel he will be a key player," said Modell.

Ogden's contract will be in line with that of Washington Redskins wide receiver Michael Westbrook, who, like Ogden, was the fourth pick overall last year.

Westbrook signed a seven-year contract worth $15.3 million, including a signing bonus of $6.5 million. But according to a team source, Ogden is going to get $8 million in guaranteed money through his signing bonus, salary and incentive clauses.

"Things are going great, and there is nothing that I can see that is going to stop this deal," said Ogden's father, Shirrel. "I think you can say we have agreed in principle. I expect [agent Marvin Demoff] to fly into Baltimore Monday and sign the contract."

Modell said the team was on the verge of closing a deal with University of Miami linebacker Ray Lewis last night, but Lewis' agent said his client and the team have moved further apart in the past two days.

Drew Rosenhaus, Lewis' agent, said Lewis might not sign in time for the opening of camp.

The Ravens have offered Lewis a four-year deal that includes an average salary of $924,000 and a $1.2 million signing bonus.

Lewis was the Ravens' second pick in the first round and the 26th player chosen overall. Safety Devin Bush of the Atlanta Falcons was the 26th player chosen last year. He signed for four years with an average salary of $836,500.

The Ravens named Lewis the starting middle linebacker after cutting veteran Pepper Johnson.

"A couple of days ago I thought we were going to get this done soon," said Rosenhaus. "Now, I'm losing stock in the negotiating process."

In other developments yesterday, the Ravens terminated the contract of veteran starting cornerback Don Griffin. Griffin will be replaced by either Issac Booth or Tennessee rookie DeRon Jenkins, who is still unsigned.

The team officially signed former Philadelphia Eagles receiver Calvin Williams yesterday.

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