Seattle's Blackmon to visit Ravens Free-agent safety coming off best season

March 26, 1997|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

Robert Blackmon, a free-agent strong safety who played for the Seattle Seahawks last season, is expected to visit the Ravens' complex today, said Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel.

Blackmon and Dallas Cowboys free safety Brock Marion were two of the highest-rated safeties in the free-agent market. Blackmon, 29, had a career-high 102 tackles in 16 games last season, third best on the team. He also had three interceptions.

The Ravens are in need of a strong safety, but Blackmon would come at a high price. Blackmon made $1.5 million last season. The Ravens also could be using Blackmon as an insurance policy for Marion, who agreed to a four-year contract worth $8.4 million last week but was not signed after failing a physical because of a previous shoulder injury.

The Ravens are working with Marion's agent to restructure his contract, but Blackmon's visit may increase the pace to get the deal done. The Ravens will be the first team Blackmon has visited, said his agent.

"All I will say is that we're trying to better our football team," said Newsome.

The Ravens got a proposal from the agent of Arizona Cardinals defensive end Michael Bankston yesterday, and negotiations are expected to heat up soon. Bankston, a free agent, made $902,000 last season.

"Michael wants to play in Baltimore," said his agent, Gene Burrough, who is seeking a three-year deal. "We took into consideration their salary-cap situation, and we think we made them a cap-friendly offer."

Pub Date: 3/26/97

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