Ravens officials started talking to kicker Shayne Graham in late March, so why has it taken this long for the sides to strike a deal?
Here are the two reasons:
1. The Ravens wanted to wait until June because it increases their chances of getting a better compensatory pick in next year's draft. Any unrestricted free agent signed before June 1 counts against a team in the NFL's formula for assigning compensatory picks. At this point, the Ravens have lost two UFAs (Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan) and signed only one (Cory Redding). If the Ravens signed Graham before June 1, they might not receive a compensatory pick in 2011.
2. Graham was a free agent since March, but the Ravens couldn't immediately sign Graham on June 1 because of NFL rules. As a result of Graham being a free agent on June 1 (because the Ravens decided to wait), an NFL spokesman told The Baltimore Sun that the Cincinnati Bengals had the right to tender him a contract worth 110 percent of his prior salary. But the Bengals declined to do so, which allowed Graham to remain a free agent. Still, the Ravens could only sign Graham until after June 1.