Today is deadline for Ravens, McAlister to reach long-term deal without penalty

March 17, 2004|By Brent Jones

Today is the deadline for the Ravens and cornerback Chris McAlister to reach an agreement on a long-term deal. If the Ravens sign McAlister, the team's franchise player, to a long-term contract between tomorrow and July 14, the Ravens would forfeit their right to use the franchise tag again over the length of McAlister's contract.

After the mid-July date, the Ravens could sign McAlister to a long-term deal with no penalty.

Team officials and McAlister's agent, Mitch Frankel, have been negotiating for nearly 14 months. Frankel said yesterday that he and the Ravens have not talked recently. "Is there a possibility we will talk? That's possible, but I don't see any long-term agreement," Frankel said.

As the franchise player for the second year in a row, McAlister will receive a one-year, $6.8 million salary (a 20 percent increase over last season) if the sides fail to agree on a new deal.

Teams must pay a franchise player a minimum of the average salary for the top five players at his position or 120 percent of his previous season's salary, whichever is greater. Another team would have to match the Ravens' offer and give them two first-round draft picks as compensation.

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