Ravens, Lewis agree on deal

Rookie running back will get over $35.3M in 6-year contract

July 22, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

First-round draft choice Jamal Lewis reached an agreement in principle with the Ravens last night on a six-year contract worth more than $35.3 million.

Lewis, the fifth pick in the draft, has the chance to earn more than $14 million in the first year of the contract, which includes a $6.516 million signing bonus and $800,000 in other compensation that is expected to be paid in March.

"The final piece was the organization agreeing to some incentives we had wanted in exchange for giving up a little on signing bonus," said Mitch Frankel, Lewis' agent, after concluding two days of negotiations with Pat Moriarty, the Ravens' director of football administration.

That means the Tennessee running back will make the formal opening of training camp tomorrow in Westminster. Practices begin Monday.

"Obviously, this is a process you go through," said Ravens coach Brian Billick. "It's important for us as a team and Jamal as a player to get started on the right foot, and this allows that.

"When we went into this, we knew what the fifth and 10th picks represented. We knew what we had to do to get them signed. We're very thrilled to get Jamal in camp."

Frankel said Lewis should be able to make 98 percent of the incentives and escalators in his contract. His incentives are based on rushing yards, total yards, touchdowns and total points.

"Jamal is thrilled and can't wait to get there to play," Frankel said. "It was a high priority for him to get to camp on time."

Frankel also said the Ravens "handled themselves very professionally - my hat's off to them."

Lewis was unavailable to comment last night.

The Ravens, meanwhile, appear no closer to a deal with their other first-round pick, Travis Taylor, a wide receiver from Florida.

Said Billick: "I would hate to see it languish for a day or two when it could be done."

Also unsigned are third-round quarterback Chris Redman, who is expected to report on time, and two exclusive-rights players - punter Kyle Richardson and defensive tackle Lional Dalton. Dallas agent Steve Weinberg represents Taylor, Richardson and Dalton.

On another front, negotiations for a contract extension for veteran defensive tackle Tony Siragusa have bogged down, leaving his arrival in Westminster in doubt.

Agents Terry Lavenstein and Gus Sunseri attempted to close the deal yesterday with Ozzie Newsome, the team's vice president of player personnel, but couldn't agree on signing bonus or the incentives package.

"Ozzie attempted to get it done," Lavenstein said. "I believe the Ravens want to get it done. And I believe we're relatively close to doing that. Whether we get it done before Sunday is up to the Ravens."

Newsome was not available to comment.

Lavenstein, who said Thursday he thought he was close to a deal, said he had submitted three proposals to the team in the past three days.

"I thought the last proposal we submitted this morning was most likely to resolve this thing," he said.

The Ravens' offer is for a $1.5 million signing bonus and a $500,000 salary. Siragusa was seeking $3 million this season in a four-year deal, but he has come down from that figure.

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