By Jamison Hensley and Mike Preston
The Baltimore Sun
October 29, 2004
Jonathan Ogden signed a seven-year contract with the Ravens yesterday, securing the future for him as well as the Ravens.
The deal for the seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle will pay him a total of $50 million, including a guaranteed $20 million in the first two years of his contract, a league source said. It continues to make him the NFL's highest-paid offensive lineman.
Although Ogden, 30, was already under contract for the next three seasons, both sides agreed this new deal allows the franchise's first-ever pick to end his career here and provides the team salary cap room to re-sign players.
"I'm glad to get it done," said Ogden, the No. 4 overall draft pick in 1996, the year the Ravens began playing in Baltimore after moving from Cleveland. "Finally there is no doubt that I will be here until I'm done. This is what I was looking for. I plan to retire as a Raven.
"I'm glad I could get it over with so I don't have to worry about it next year. I can just concentrate on playing and getting my hamstring right, and getting out there to play."
By lessening Ogden's cap number over the next few years, the Ravens have the room to look into re-signing cornerback Gary Baxter, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, and running back Jamal Lewis, who is signed through next year.
The team also could look into reworking the contract of linebacker Ray Lewis, whose contract is through 2008, according to NFL Players Association documents. Tight end Todd Heap is another possibility because he has one year left on his contract after the season.
"This is good for everyone else and that includes the entire organization as well as the players," said Ogden, who is expected to miss Sunday's game with a pulled hamstring. "So now they can move on so they can get done what they need to get done."
Ogden, 6 feet 9 and 345 pounds, has had a Hall of Fame career.
In his nine seasons, he has built a reputation as one of the dominant linemen in the game because of his rare combination of strength, speed, agility and technical skills.
He is the second Pro Bowl Raven to receive a new contract in 18 days. The Ravens signed cornerback Chris McAlister to a seven-year deal earlier this month.
"This organization has prided itself on retaining its players and giving them the opportunity like Jonathan Ogden to retire as a Raven," general manager Ozzie Newsome said.
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