Ravens go 2-for-4 on holdouts

Redman, Richardson join team

Siragusa, Taylor harden stances

Billick: Rookie `ill-advised'

Agent for tackle says release may be sought

July 25, 2000|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

The Ravens reduced their holdout list by two yesterday, but dug in for what might be a lengthy wait on first-round pick Travis Taylor and disgruntled defensive tackle Tony Siragusa.

The agents for Taylor, David Canter and Steve Weinberg, scrambled last evening to propose a four-year deal after abandoning efforts to negotiate a seven-year contract.

The agent for Siragusa, meanwhile, suggested the 10-year veteran likely would ask for his release rather than play for the $1.5 million final year of his contract.

On the first day of training camp, all news was not bad news, however.

Oddly enough, it started and ended with two roster additions.

At about 1:30 a.m., some seven hours before the team's first practice, quarterback Chris Redman agreed to a three-year, $1.291 million contract with a $465,000 signing bonus. As he had promised, the third-round pick didn't miss a minute of camp.

Then, several hours after the second practice ended, punter Kyle Richardson decided to end his one-day holdout and agreed to sign the Ravens' $385,000 tender as an exclusive-rights player.

Redman's arrival, even though he will only be the third-team quarterback, was especially satisfying to coach Brian Billick.

"It was very important," Billick said. "I'm heartened by that sequence. Chris Redman basically told his people, `I'm not missing a practice. Do what you've got to do, I'm not missing a practice.'

"There's some other people that could learn from that."

The Louisville quarterback took a pro-active stance with agent David Dunn: "I made it real clear that whatever happens, [we're] just going to take what we can get right before camp started and get out there for the first practice for sure."

Taylor, a wide receiver, had no such instructions for Canter and Weinberg, his two representatives who were at the team's Westminster training camp yesterday trying to jump-start negotiations with Pat Moriarty, the Ravens' chief negotiator.

Taylor's agents said they'd settle for a six-year, $31.8 million deal for the 10th pick in the draft. That number was predicated on the difference of $700,000 between the contracts of fourth pick Peter Warrick (six years, $36 million) and the Ravens' fifth pick, running back Jamal Lewis (six years, $35.3 million), multiplied by five.

Weinberg said Taylor would accept a six-year contract worth $8.164 million in signing bonus and salaries, with additional monies in incentives. Minus his incentives, Lewis' deal is worth $14.238 million, Weinberg said.

"We'll accept over $6 million less," Weinberg said.

"We want to do a deal consistent with Jamal's, and make Travis earn the rest of it [through incentives]."

Weinberg said the Ravens would not give any incentives on a five-year deal, and preferred a seven-year contract.

The long and short of it is that Taylor's agents rejected the seven-year term, and the Ravens, they say, have rejected the four-year deal. Weinberg and Canter will meet with Moriarty today in an effort to revive negotiations on a four-year deal.

"We are seeking a contract that rewards Travis on similar levels at the wide receiver position," Weinberg said. "As soon as the Ravens are willing to negotiate in good faith with us at those levels, Travis Taylor will be in camp."

The Ravens were quick to point out the time Taylor loses to a holdout will slow his assimilation into the offense.

"I'm concerned because he's losing valuable time," owner Art Modell said. "It's hurting him more than us. We are very well set at receiver. He has to find his place in the scheme of things."

Said Billick: "It's going to hurt [Travis] a whole lot more than it hurts us. For him to be put in this position is unfair to the young man and ill-advised."

There were no negotiations on a contract extension for Siragusa, however. And Billick indicated there would be none.

"Any discussions will be, `Come on into camp and we'll talk further - if it needs to be talked any further," Billick said. "There'll be no further discussion, no contract extensions, there'll be no changes to their contract status."

While Modell had concern over Taylor's absence, he had none over Siragusa's.

"He doesn't come, he doesn't come," Modell said. "He comes, he comes. Period. I'm not going to lose any sleep over it either way. I think it's a ridiculous situation, given the fact he's maybe a one-third player because he's rotating with the defensive tackles. He's in for one-third of the plays.

"I like Tony a lot. He should be here. If he doesn't want to be here under the conditions we feel are equitable and fair, then he should not come."

Terry Lavenstein, Siragusa's Baltimore agent, said Siragusa would not play the 2000 season for his $1.5 million contract terms. The team had offered to raise his salary to $2 million this season. He has been seeking a two-year average of $2.5 million.

Lavenstein said that with incentives, the two sides are only $250,000 apart.

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