Landing Northcutt looks unlikely

Browns want Ravens to give up 2nd-round pick


April 02, 2004|By Jamison Hensley and Brent Jones | Jamison Hensley and Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

Despite the ultimatum made by Dennis Northcutt's agent, the chances of the disgruntled receiver getting his wish - a trade from the Cleveland Browns to the Ravens - still appears unlikely because the AFC North rivals remain so far apart.

A league source said the Ravens probably won't increase their offer beyond a fourth-round draft pick (they're reportedly willing to give up a fifth-rounder), while Browns officials continue to demand at least a second-round selection.

With draft meetings beginning this week, the Ravens' focus presumably has shifted more toward college players than Northcutt. A deal with any team probably would occur closer to the NFL draft (April 24-25) if not on draft day.

Frustrated that the trade wasn't completed by the end of this week's owners meetings, agent Jerome Stanley said Wednesday that Northcutt will only suit up for the Ravens this season. It is believed that Stanley, who talked with Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome at the end of the league meetings, is trying to get the Ravens to offer a third-round pick.

"Dennis Northcutt will never play for the Cleveland Browns again, under any circumstances," Stanley told the Associated Press. "If they trade him to any team other than Baltimore, he will not report."

Last season, Northcutt produced career highs in catches (62) and yards (729). He scored two touchdowns.

One of Stanley's assistants said he had returned from the owners meetings to his Los Angeles office, but Stanley did not return repeated calls yesterday. Newsome reiterated yesterday no moves are imminent at wide receiver or any other position.

Browns president Carmen Policy, who was on vacation and unavailable for comment, told Cleveland reporters Wednesday that talks began with the Ravens two weeks ago. He said the starting point for a trade is a second-round pick (the same round Northcutt was drafted) and added the Browns would want a first-round pick from the Ravens "because we don't want to trade him in the division."

Northcutt, 26, failed to become a free agent when written notice to void the final three years of his contract wasn't received by the team by Feb. 19. He is scheduled to make $700,000 each year for the remainder of his deal.

After the Ravens lost out on Terrell Owens last month, their top priority has been trying to upgrade their receiving corps of Travis Taylor, Frank Sanders, Randy Hymes, Ron Johnson and Javin Hunter.

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