Ravens' Ogden tops bonus list for rookies NFL's fourth pick beats out players taken higher

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Jonathan Ogden, the fourth player picked in the 1996 NFL draft, by the Ravens, got the highest signing bonus -- $6,793,997 -- according to a rookie salary survey compiled by the NFL Players Association.

Ogden's bonus was one of six worth more than $5 million given to the high draft picks, and topped the $6.5 million signing bonuses given to the first and third players taken, Keyshawn Johnson of the New York Jets and Simeon Rice of the Arizona Cardinals.

Kevin Hardy, the second player taken, by the Jacksonville Jaguars, got the sixth-highest signing bonus -- $5 million -- although he received the highest first-year base salary -- $1 million. The base salaries increase a maximum of 25 percent each year.

Hardy was one of the first players to sign, and Johnson and Rice held out for bigger signing bonuses.

Ogden wasn't a holdout, but his agent, Marvin Demoff, had a lot of leverage because the Ravens wanted to get the first player they drafted in camp on time.

Ogden also got voidable years in his contract. That means he can void his seven-year contract after three years, and the Ravens must give him a bonus of $825,000 to keep him a fourth year and $1,325,000 for a fifth year. He can then void his contract again and become a free agent after five years.

The base salaries in Ogden's second and third years ($882,500 and $1,059,000) are guaranteed.

Two high picks, Lawrence Phillips of the St. Louis Rams and Rickey Dudley of the Oakland Raiders, didn't get signing bonuses, and Terry Glenn of the New England Patriots got a $60,000 signing bonus.

Phillips' negotiating leverage was hurt by his off-the-field problems.

The salaries drop quickly for players drafted after the top 10 picks.

For example, the Ravens' other first-round pick, Ray Lewis, the 26th choice, got a $1.3 million signing bonus, their second-round pick, DeRon Jenkins, got a $600,000 signing bonus and their next selection, Jermaine Lewis, a fifth-round pick, received a $60,000 signing bonus and the $131,000 minimum first-year salary.

Top 1996 rookie contracts

Player, P -- Jonathan Ogden, OL

Team -- Ravens

Signing bonus -- $6,793,997

First-year base --$706,000

Player, P -- Keyshawn Johnson, WR Team -- Jets

Signing bonus -- $6,500,000

First-year base --$872,000

Player, P -- Simeon Rice, DL

Team -- Cardinals

Signing bonus -- $6,500,000

First-year base --$476,300

Player, P -- Cedric Jones, DL

Team -- Giants

Signing bonus -- $5,750,000

First-year base --$709,500

Player, P -- Tim Biakabutuka, RB

Team -- Panthers

Signing bonus -- $5,100,000

First-year base --$617,000

Player, P -- Kevin Hardy, DL

Team -- Jaguars

Signing bonus -- $5,000,000

First-year base --$1,000,000

Ravens' top picks

Rd. -- 1.

Players, P -- Ogden

Signing bonus -- $6,793,997

First-year base --$706,000

Rd. -- 1.

Players, P -- Ray Lewis, LB

singing bonus -- $1,300,000

First-year base --$450,000

Rd. -- 2.

Players, P -- DeRon Jenkins, CB

Signing bonus -- $600,000

First-year base --$164,000

Rd. -- 5.

Players, P -- Jermaine Lewis, WR

Singing bonus -- $60,000

First-year base -- $131,000

Rd. -- 6.

Players, P -- Dexter Daniels, LB

Signing bonus -- $34,000

First-year base --Practice squad

Rd. -- 6.

Players, P -- James Roe WR

Signing bonus -- $31,000

First-year base --$131,000

Rd. -- 7.

Players, P -- Jon Stark, QB

Signing bonus -- $12,000

First-year base --Physically unable to perform list

Pub Date: 10/16/96

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