Ravens signal punter return

Team opts to match offer to Richardson

Panthers' deal was $850,000

Negotiations resume with Sharper's agent

March 27, 2001|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

Three days after restricted free agent Kyle Richardson signed an offer sheet with the Carolina Panthers, Ozzie Newsome said the Ravens would keep the 28-year-old punter.

"We will match the offer," the Ravens' vice president of player personnel said last night from Palm Desert, Calif., where he is attending the NFL owners' meetings. "We will retain Kyle."

Richardson, who led the league in punts inside the 20-yard line each of the past two seasons, signed a one-year, $850,000 offer sheet with the Panthers on Friday. The one-year offer was designed to make it more difficult for the Ravens to match because of their tight salary cap position.

The Ravens had tendered Richardson a qualifying offer of $512,000 this off-season. The Panthers' offer included a $500,000 base salary and a $350,000 signing bonus.

As of last night, Richardson's agent, Steve Weinberg, said he had not been informed by the club that it intended to match the offer.

"It's news to us," Weinberg said. "Kyle will be very pleased if that's the case. I'm happy either way, because he makes $850,000 instead of $512,000."

Happier still was Russ Purnell, the Ravens' special teams coach, who spent yesterday reviewing tape of college punters in the event the team let Richardson leave.

"Kyle's been a good punter the last couple of years, and we're pleased he's going to be back," Purnell said. "I think he will continue to have a good future with the Baltimore Ravens. He's been very good in helping us win the field-position battle.

"I'll sleep a little better tonight."

Newsome also said the team had resumed negotiations last night with the representative for unrestricted free-agent linebacker Jamie Sharper.

Negotiations with Sharper's agent, Tony Agnone, broke off last week when the team pulled an offer off the table.

Weinberg announced that two more of his Ravens clients, defensive tackle Lional Dalton and wide receiver Germany Thompson, were on the verge of signing new contracts.

Dalton, a restricted free agent, has agreed to accept the team's tender of $1.115 million for one year, and Thompson will sign a one-year, exclusive-rights deal for $298,000.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.