Ravens, Reed reach accord: $6.2M, 5 years

24th overall draft pick from University of Miami ends nine-day holdout

Incentives worth additional $2.5M

Unlikely to start Friday, free safety still will get chance at job as regular

August 04, 2002|By Jamison Hensley | Jamison Hensley,SUN STAFF

Ed Reed's nine-day holdout resulted in a monetary gain and, for the time being, a lost starting job.

The 24th overall pick in the NFL draft, Reed signed a $6.2 million, five-year contract with the Ravens last night that included a $3.625 million signing bonus. With incentives, the deal could be worth as much as $8.7 million.

Reed's agent wanted a bonus of $3.765 million, but the Ravens countered with a $3.6 million proposal. In the end, common ground was reached when the Ravens added $25,000 to their signing bonus offer and gave the rookie free safety an easily attainable $500,000 incentive clause for this season that can be paid over five years.

But Reed's financial reward came at a cost.

When the Ravens practice tomorrow, their starting free safety will remain Chad Williams, a sixth-round pick. Ravens coach Brian Billick characterized Reed's chances of starting Friday's preseason opener as "unlikely" but said the former University of Miami playmaker will be given a chance to regain his job by the season opener on Sept. 8.

"This isn't some veiled punishment that he has lost his opportunity to start," Billick said. "That would look silly. Because come the opener against Carolina, he'll most likely be there. But he will not be as proficient and not be as good regardless of what transpires over the next four weeks had he been here this last week."

Reed, who said last month that he would report to camp on time, was at the airport within a couple of hours of reaching an agreement. Although he would have received a tax break by signing the contract in Florida, Ravens officials nixed any idea of sending the papers down to him and instead told him to report to McDaniel College immediately.

"I'm happy and just ready to get there," Reed said from the Miami airport. "I'm not used to being out of football this long. Holding out is an experience in itself and something you never get used to."

Reed's deal also includes an incentives package that triggers a $2 million escalator clause in the final year of the deal. With Reed signed, there are just six unsigned first-round picks.

"All's well that ends well," said Jeff Moorad, Reed's agent. "We would have preferred a quicker pace, but it was a situation where both sides were digging in. Once we waited our turn as Ray Lewis' contract was addressed, the deal came together quickly."

Reed was the field general of a Hurricanes unit that led the nation in scoring defense (9.4 points a game), shutouts (three) and turnovers forced (45). The Big East co-Defensive Player of the Year, he finished his career with 21 interceptions and 54 pass deflections, both school records.

After solid showings in four off-season Ravens camps, Reed doesn't think he'll be playing catch-up too much.

"It depends on where they are in the playbook," Reed said. "I've been studying, so I don't expect to be too far behind."

Said Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Nolan: "What we've seen from the defense this first week of camp is that they're willing to work very hard. Ed will fit right in with them because we know he's a hard worker."

Reed also doesn't expect any repercussions from his teammates because of his holdout.

"I'm a 23-year-old grown man," Reed said. "College is for that."

His teammates, though, have other plans.

Hungry, anyone?

"When you hold out, you definitely have to treat us twice," cornerback Chris McAlister said. "He's going to have to take us to Ruth's Chris [Steak House] and the Palm Restaurant, paying for the limos and the whole nine yards."

Billick will be looking for some repayment as well.

By the time Reed checks in, he will have missed 14 workouts and one scrimmage, including the most physically demanding portion of Billick's camp. That means Reed will have extra conditioning work during his down time in Westminster.

"I'm not punishing this guy. He's in camp," Billick said. "That wouldn't prove anything to anybody. My concern has to be solely what do we do physically to make sure he can hold up. Because of that, the number of snaps that he will take in the preseason game are diminished from what he would take otherwise.

"What has been missed is irreplaceable. But that doesn't mean we can't go forward."

NOTES: The Ravens have begun discussions with agent Eugene Parker about re-signing defensive tackle Sam Adams. ... The Ravens drew a crowd of 9,112 for their mock scrimmage yesterday, giving them a combined two-day crowd of 18,382. ... Backup cornerback James Trapp stopped by the University of Maryland Medical Center yesterday to visit Jessie White, an 8-year-old who recently had brain surgery.

Ravens next

Preseason opponent:Detroit Lions

When:Friday, 8 p.m.

Site:Ravens Stadium

TV/Radio:Comcast SportsNet, Ch. 45/WJFK (1300 AM), WQSR (105.7 FM)

Line: Ravens by 3

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