The Ravens have agreed to a four-year contract with Dallas Cowboys free-agent safety Brock Marion, said Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel, last night.
Terms of the deal were not available, but Marion made a base salary of $226,000 and received a $135,000 signing bonus last season. He has been considered one of the best young safeties in the free-agent market.
Marion, 26, started 10 games for the Cowboys last year before a fractured left scapula sidelined him for the rest of the season. He finished with 77 tackles and led the Cowboys with six interceptions in 1995.
The Ravens were interested in Marion and fellow Dallas free-agent safety George Teague, but Teague appears to be headed to the Miami Dolphins. The Ravens also seem to have lost out on another Dallas player. Linebacker Broderick Thomas, after hearing a personal plea from owner Jerry Jones yesterday, seems headed back to Dallas.
In another late development, Newsome was expected to again have talks last night with the Oakland Raiders about the Raiders possibly trading up to the Ravens' No. 4 overall position, according to a league official.
The Ravens were involved in intense negotiations with both Teague and Marion yesterday, but Marion, 5 feet 11, 193 pounds, was the player the Ravens preferred. But they didn't know if he was affordable.
Marion is considered the better tackler of the two, and plays more within a team scheme. Teague is considered more of a big-play type, but likes to free-lance, which sometimes allows big plays.
"Obviously, Brock Marion will give us leadership because he has started two years for the Super Bowl champions," said Newsome, whose team was one of seven interested in Marion. "He is a talented, young player and this was a cap-friendly deal. This is not a big [cap] setback, so we can still be active in the free-agent market."
The Ravens were in a four-team race for Teague along with the Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and Miami Dolphins. Teague is expected to make his decision this morning after the Dolphins make another proposal in the wake of defensive end Daniel Stubbs agreeing to terms yesterday.
"They told us they were not going to accept our offer, so I would think he is going to go with Miami," said Newsome.
The turn of events with Marion and Teague probably means the Ravens will try to re-sign safety Stevon Moore instead of bidding dTC for the return of safety Eric Turner. Moore will probably have to take considerably less than the $1.7 million he made last season. Turner was expected to make $3.9 million this season, but the Ravens cut him nearly three weeks ago.
"I'm not crazy about bringing back players with sharply reduced contracts," said Ravens owner Art Modell, in reference to Turner.
Thomas was almost a Ravens player, but his deal with the team may have come apart after an early morning phone call from Jones. If Thomas stays with the Cowboys, it would mean the Ravens have lost one of the players they have coveted most during the offseason.
The team spent the previous four days giving Thomas the red-carpet treatment. Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis even took him to dinner Monday night.
If Thomas signs with the Cowboys, the Ravens still don't have a bona fide top pass rusher at outside linebacker.
"Jerry Jones got Dallas back in it," said Thomas from his hotel room here yesterday afternoon. "They had put their money on the table since Day 1, but they knew Baltimore had an interest in me and we were getting close to a deal.
"Now we have two teams at the table and the best-case scenario wins," said Thomas. "I have no place to go, so I'm going to wait here for the seven digits to come up on the phone to see which team wants me and where I'm headed."
By 7: 15 last night, Thomas had checked out of his hotel.
"I think he is going to re-sign with Dallas," said Newsome.
The Raiders are apparently willing to trade their No. 10 slot in the first round to the Ravens and also surrender their ninth pick in the second round.
A league source said Oakland would then swap positions with the Jets, who have the No. 1 pick, while also offering Pro Bowl defensive lineman Chester McGlockton to New York.
Seattle also has an interest in moving up from its No. 11 position in the first round to the Ravens' No. 4 spot, but probably won't make a proposal until it gets closer to the April 19-20 draft.
Seattle wants Ohio State's Shawn Springs, the most highly rated cornerback in the draft, but isn't sure he'll be available at No. 4. Atlanta, which has the No. 3 pick, and Detroit, which has No. 5, also have strong interest in Springs.
Newsome was expected to talk with Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen last night.
Pub Date: 3/19/97