By Ken Murray
The Baltimore Sun
August 29, 2000
Rewarding Jonathan Ogden for "performance and productivity," the Ravens have reached terms on a six-year contract extension that makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history.
Ogden will get $44 million over the six-year extension, including a $12 million signing bonus. Added to the $4.081 million he is scheduled to receive this season, the three-time Pro Bowl left tackle will make $48 million over the next seven seasons.
"It's true that we reward our players based on performance and productivity, not on promise and agents," Ravens majority owner Art Modell said yesterday.
"We're delighted to have him sign, and I'm very, very happy. I think Jonathan is happy, too. That's all that matters."
Ogden, the first player the Ravens drafted after moving to Baltimore in 1996 as the Cleveland Browns, said that an announcement would be made today about the landmark contract, and that he was relieved to have it done.
Modell, in his 40th season as an NFL owner, said Ogden, 26, may go down as the greatest tackle in history.
"We consider Jonathan Ogden the best tackle in football today, and I think his future is extremely bright," Modell said. "Hopefully, he'll go down in history as the best ever to play the game.
"I've seen them all, and I'm not going to compare Jonathan to others by name. [But] right now, he may be the best there is, and he may be the best ever to play."
In a year when offensive tackles were signing at a premium, Ogden trumped the contracts of tackles Jon Runyan and Willie Anderson. Runyan signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as a free agent last winter, getting $30.5 million over six years with a $6 million signing bonus.
Not long after that, Anderson got a six-year extension worth $30.6 million from the Cincinnati Bengals.
Ogden, 6 feet 8, 340 pounds, also surpassed the four-year, $26 million extension signed by tackle Tony Boselli of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999. Boselli's deal averaged $6.5 million.
Pat Moriarty, the Ravens' director of football administration, negotiated the contract with Marvin Demoff, Ogden's Los Angeles-based agent. Demoff got Ogden a seven-year, $15.4 million deal with a $6.79 million signing bonus in 1996. More significantly, Demoff negotiated a two-year void after Ogden's fifth year that would have enabled him to become a free agent in March.
Ogden, a native of Washington, D.C., was the fourth pick in the 1996 draft. Originally expected to go as high as the second pick that year, he fell to the Ravens at No. 4.
Having considered taking running back Lawrence Phillips, the Ravens quickly made Ogden the franchise's first pick. Phillips has since played his way out of the league.
Last week, as the final details were being hammered out, Ogden said he was prepared for the scrutiny that will come with being the highest-paid lineman.
"I'll just go out and do my best," he said. "That's what I've always done. I'll continue to do what I've been doing.
"Ninety-nine times out of 100, that's been good enough. I'll be me. I won't change."
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