Agent quiet on Northcutt-to-Ravens possibility

He won't guess whether grievance against Browns increases client's chances

NFL notes

April 10, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

The agent for Cleveland Browns receiver Dennis Northcutt did not want to speculate on whether he feels his client's chances of playing next season for the Ravens have increased now that he has filed a grievance against the Cleveland Browns.

Jerome Stanley filed a grievance with the league's Management Council on Thursday, claiming the Browns have failed to bargain in good faith. Stanley's ultimate goal would be to have Northcutt declared a free agent if the case makes it to Stephen Burbank, the NFL's special master and primary decision-maker in cases like this.

Though Stanley has intimated in the past that the Ravens are the only team Northcutt will play for next season, he did not take such a hard-line stance yesterday.

"I don't really want to talk [about] that right now," Stanley said.

The Ravens have offered a fourth- and a seventh-round pick for Northcutt, who is under contract with the Browns for the next three seasons because Stanley missed a deadline last month that would have voided those years and made Northcutt a free agent.

While such an offer seems close to market value for a player of Northcutt's caliber, the Browns have rebuffed the deal, claiming to want no less than a second-round pick from the Ravens, their AFC North Division rival. No other known offers are on the table for Northcutt.

Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said previously that he has not set a deadline to finalize a deal for Northcutt.

As for Northcutt's chance of winning this case or at least resolving it by getting traded to the Ravens, Stanley said, "I really don't know yet."

TRADE: The Cincinnati Bengals obtained talented but erratic cornerback Deltha O'Neal from the Denver Broncos in a trade that also involved a swap of first-round draft picks.

The trade gives Cincinnati's first-round pick to Denver, No. 17 overall, in return for the 24th slot. Cincinnati also received the Broncos' fourth round pick.

The Bengals had been looking to draft a cornerback. But the three best - D'Angelo Hall of Virginia Tech, Dunta Robinson of South Carolina and Chris Gamble of Ohio State - are likely to be gone by the 17th pick.

O'Neal, Denver's first-round pick in 2000 and a Pro Bowler in 2001, gives the Bengals a potential starting cornerback to pair with Tory James, another ex-Bronco.

BUCCANEERS: Tampa Bay signed cornerback Mario Edwards, shoring up its depth in the secondary.

Wire services contributed to this article.

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