Ravens getting down to business with Blake, McAlister, Mulitalo

3 are free agents March 1

McAlister: franchise tag?

Pro Football

January 31, 2003|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The Ravens have begun preliminary discussions with the agents for quarterback Jeff Blake, cornerback Chris McAlister and guard Edwin Mulitalo, but they do not anticipate having any of the players signed within the next couple of weeks.

All three become free agents March 1, though the Ravens would likely make McAlister a franchise player before that date, if a deal is not reached, to keep him off the market. The team will likely offer a multi-year contract to Mulitalo and an incentive-laded, multi-year deal to Blake.

Negotiations between those three and the nine other unrestricted free agents - which includes starting receiver Brandon Stokley, starting right tackle Ethan Brooks, starting outside linebacker Cornell Brown and nickel back James Trapp - are expected to heat up around the NFL Scouting Combine, Feb. 18-24 in Indianapolis.

Quarterback Chris Redman, who had back surgery Jan. 17, is expected to start throwing late next month. Linebacker Ray Lewis, who had season-ending shoulder surgery in December and is in the midst of a four-month rehabilitation, should be ready by training camp.

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