Performance is catch to a Taylor contract

Agent wants 3rd receiver picked in draft to be paid like first 2 if he excels

May 19, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Agent Steven Weinberg opened negotiations with the Ravens for first-round draft pick Travis Taylor yesterday, seeking a contract that will reward the rookie wide receiver for performance."Our philosophy is real simple,'` Weinberg said after meeting with Pat Moriarty, the Ravens' vice president of administration, at the team's Owings Mills complex. "There were three receivers taken in the top 10 picks. Travis is the third of three. If he outperforms the other two, we want to have a contract that reflects that. If he performs, that's fair.'`

The Ravens took Taylor with the 10th pick in the draft, five slots after they took running back Jamal Lewis. The two wide receivers who went before Taylor were Peter Warrick (No. 4 to Cincinnati) and Plaxico Burress (No. 8 to Pittsburgh).

Taylor's selection marks the third straight year the Ravens wound up with the 10th pick in the draft. They got cornerbacks Duane Starks (1998) and Chris McAlister (1999) there the past two drafts.

Starks signed a four-year, $6.482 million contract with a $3.1 million signing bonus. McAlister got a four-year deal worth $6.3 million, including a $3.75 million signing bonus.

Weinberg indicated he wants a better deal for Taylor, pointing out that the Ravens didn't give linebacker Peter Boulware, the fourth pick in the 1997 draft, the same deal they gave guard Jonathan Ogden, the fourth pick in 1996."Our goal is to have him signed by July 23 [for the opening of training camp],'` said Weinberg, who was joined in negotiations by partner David Canter."My last first-round client was [offensive tackle] Victor Riley with Kansas City two years ago," said Weinberg. "Nine of the 10 previous years, the Chiefs had holdouts with that pick. But Victor signed on July 2. My history getting clients signed on time is good.'`

Moriarty declined to put a timetable on the signing, saying only, "If there's a meeting of the minds and it makes sense, we'll pull the trigger."

Weinberg was in Baltimore because ESPN is taping a special "Outside the Lines'` program on Taylor, and the timing facilitated the opening rounds of talks.

Moriarty said he has spoken to Lewis' agent, Mitch Frankel, and plans to have a similar face-to-face session shortly."Our goal is to sit there and open dialogue as early as possible," he said.NOTES: Wide receiver Jermaine Lewis, due to make $2 million this season, has had his contract restructured by the Ravens. He'll make a base of $440,000 this season with an additional $1.56 million in guaranteed payments over the course of the season. He's also due a workout bonus of $105,000. The new deal is worth the same total amount as his old deal. ... Safety Kim Herring and outside linebacker Cornell Brown were singled out by defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis for their work in the just-concluded passing camp. ... Weinberg said he made progress on contracts for unsigned restricted free agents Lional Dalton, a defensive tackle, and Kyle Richardson, a punter, as well.

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