With wide receiver Michael Jackson signed for another three seasons, the Ravens will focus on keeping two other high-priority players -- center Steve Everitt and safety Eric Turner.
Everitt worked out for the New York Jets yesterday, and the Jets reportedly were preparing to clear enough salary-cap room to make him an offer.
Everitt has listened to offers from the Ravens ($9 million over five years with a $2.5 million signing bonus) and Philadelphia Eagles ($11.5 million over six years, two years guaranteed, $600,000 bonus), and will not visit any more teams.
"Hopefully, we'll get things going over the weekend and the early part of next week," said Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel. "I'm still optimistic that we're going to get Steve back."
Before re-signing Jackson yesterday, the Ravens were about $4.6 million under the salary cap. Newsome said the club has more than enough money left to re-sign Everitt.
Then there is the matter of Turner, whose $3.9 million cap figure for 1997 is too large for the Ravens to swallow. The Ravens have tried to trade Turner and have considered releasing him to avoid the $1.3 million roster bonus he is due to collect if he is still with the club by 4 p.m. today.
Yesterday, team owner Art Modell said the Ravens were talking with Turner's agent, Mike Sullivan, about extending Turner's contract, due to expire this year. The two sides reportedly are discussing a four- or five-year deal.
"We'd like to start from scratch, from square one," said Modell, who hinted the Ravens probably would cut Turner if they could not strike a deal by this afternoon. "Paying any one player 10 percent of your entire payroll, especially a safety, is not prudent business judgment. I've made the mistakes, so I know.
"Some people have this feeling that we don't like Eric Turner. That's not true. He's a good football player, and we'd like to have him."
The NFL Players Association will honor 30 of its "Unsung Heroes" at the 24th annual NFL Players Award Banquet tonight at the Omni Shoreham in Washington. Proceeds from the affair will benefit the Washington D.C. Special Olympics.
Safety Stevon Moore is the Ravens' honoree, although Moore will not attend. He is taking part in a charity golf tournament this weekend near his home in Wiggins, Miss.
Defensive end Anthony Pleasant, an unrestricted free agent, reportedly will visit the Jets soon. Pleasant already has talked with the Atlanta Falcons. Dallas Cowboys safety George Teague visited the Ravens yesterday. The Ravens appear set to make serious efforts to sign Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Ray Seals and Cowboys safety Brock Marion.
Pub Date: 2/28/97