Ravens floating ideas for pool fit

McAlister deal means rookie money is short

July 27, 1999|By Mike Preston | Mike Preston,SUN STAFF

With the opening of training camp at Western Maryland College only two days away, the Ravens were working on some creative ways yesterday to circumvent a troublesome rookie pool number and sign their two fourth-round draft picks.

University of Arizona offensive tackle Edwin Mulitalo and Southwestern Louisiana wide receiver Brandon Stokley are the only draft picks of any consequence who remain unsigned. The Ravens are not too concerned about signing seventh-round pick Anthony Poindexter because the University of Virginia safety probably will go on the physically-unable-to-perform list.

Poindexter had major surgery on his knee last year and isn't expected to contribute this season.

"We have proposals out there. We're just waiting to hear from them," said Pat Moriarty, the Ravens' vice president of administration. "Our goal is to get everyone into camp on time, and we're still anticipating that."

The Ravens don't want to talk much about the subject, but the team has been bothered by the league-imposed, $1.962 million rookie pool number for the 1999 season.

In basic terms, the average rookie pool number went up about 8 percent, compared with an increase in minimum salaries of 21 percent, from $144,000 to $175,000.

Top draft pick Chris McAlister, a cornerback from Arizona, recently ate up $1.4 million of the rookie pool number when he signed a four-year deal worth $7.1 million.

That left the Ravens with about $562,000 with which to sign their three remaining picks at the minimum.

The key, though, is that a contract isn't paid out if the player is cut, and players look to get guaranteed money through signing bonuses that could put the Ravens over the rookie pool number. The league determines the rookie pool for each team, but doesn't reveal the formula used.

As of last night, the team was trying to offer more guaranteed money to its draft picks through incentives and bonuses.

"The rookie pool number is given to all the clubs and agents. They all know what we have," Moriarty said. "We're right where we anticipated, and we're working to get something done."

Mulitalo's agent, Ed Cunningham, was not available to comment, but a spokesman in his office said that there was nothing critical about the negotiations and that a deal was in the works.

Rick Smith, who represents Stokley, declined to comment.

Stokley could possibly evolve into the team's fourth receiver by the end of the season, while Mulitalo is expected to move from tackle to guard. As fourth-round picks, neither player has much leverage in the negotiations.

NOTES: Outside linebacker Peter Boulware, a Pro Bowl selection last season, is expected to meet with staff members today to discuss whether his practice schedule will be limited in training camp. Boulware has had recurring shoulder ligament problems. "I don't expect any modification," Boulware said. "I just don't want to go out and do something silly." Michael George, the agent for defensive end Michael McCrary, is on vacation and is expected to resume negotiations with the team during the second week of August. McCrary has one year left on his contract and would like an extension before the regular season starts.

Practice times

The Ravens' training camp schedule, with practices open to the public at Western Maryland until the team breaks camp on Aug. 26:

Thursday: 8: 45-11 a.m., 4-5: 30 p.m.

Friday: 8: 45-11: 10 a.m., 3-4 p.m.

Saturday: 8: 45-11 a.m.

Sunday: No practice

Monday: 8: 45-11 a.m., 4-5: 30 p.m.

Aug. 3: 8: 45-11: 10 a.m., 3-4 p.m.

Aug. 4: 8: 45-11 a.m., 4-5: 30 p.m.

Aug. 5: 9: 30-11: 15 a.m., 3-4 p.m.

Aug. 6: 8: 45-11 a.m., 6 p.m. scrimmage

Aug. 7: 10 a.m. mock game

Aug. 8: No practice

Aug. 9: 8: 45-11 a.m., 4-5: 30 p.m.

Aug. 10: 8: 45-11: 10 a.m., 3-4 p.m.

Aug. 11: 9: 30-11 a.m., 4-5 p.m.

Aug. 12: At Philadelphia Eagles: Preseason game

Aug. 13: 3: 30-5 p.m.

Aug. 14: 8: 45-11 p.m., 4-5 p.m.

Aug. 15: No practice

Aug. 16: 8: 45-11: 10 a.m., 3-4 p.m.

Aug. 17: 8: 45-11 a.m., 4-5: 30 p.m.

Aug. 18: 8: 45-11 a.m., 3-4 p.m.

Aug. 19: 10: 15 a.m.-noon, 4-5: 30 p.m.

Aug. 20: 10-10: 30 a.m.

Aug. 21: At Atlanta Falcons: Preseason game

Aug. 22: No practice

Aug. 23: 9: 30-11 a.m., 4-5: 30 p.m.

Aug. 24: 8: 45-11: 10 a.m., 3-4 p.m.

Aug. 25: 8: 45-11 a.m., 4-5: 30 p.m.

Aug. 26: 10: 15 a.m.-noon

Ravens camp

What: Ravens training camp

When: Thursday through Aug. 26

Where: Western Maryland College, Westminster

Information: 410-261-FANS

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