In an effort to increase the pass rush from the defensive tackle position, the Ravens have contacted the agent for Seattle Seahawks unrestricted free agent Sam Adams and are expecting a visit from the sixth-year veteran next week.
Adams, 6 feet 3 and 300 pounds, would not only improve the team's pass rush but also provide insurance for the Ravens in the future. Starting tackle Tony Siragusa, who has one year left on his contract, is lobbying for a contract extension, and there could be problems heading into training camp in mid-July. Adams could step in for Siragusa as a starter now or when the 2000 season is over.
Ozzie Newsome, the Ravens' vice president of player personnel, said Siragusa's contract situation has played no part in the team's interest in Adams.
In another development yesterday, Newsome said the team had little chance of signing Cincinnati Bengals restricted free-agent running back Corey Dillon.
"We're always looking to improve our football team," Newsome said. "If there is a player out there who we feel can make us a better football team, then we'll bring him in. We could use Sam Adams the same way we did cornerbacks Chris McAlister, DeRon Jenkins and Duane Starks a year ago with a three- or four-man rotation."
"He would give us the ability to pass-rush and push the pocket, especially on second and third downs, from the inside," Newsome said. "Hopefully, we'll have him in here and meet with him before the draft."
Signing Adams would almost rule out the Ravens drafting Florida State defensive tackle Corey Simon, one of the five or six highest-rated players in college football. Adams would give the Ravens five tackles with game experience, including Siragusa, Larry Webster, Lional Dalton and Martin Chase.
Adams had an outstanding start last season but after spraining a knee in the seventh game missed the next 3 1/2 contests. Adams finished with 38 tackles, including two sacks and two batted-down passes.
Adams has spent his career with the Seahawks and seemed to have break-through year in 1996, when he started 15 of 16 games and had 5.5 sacks. Adams had seven sacks in 1997, when he started all 16 games.
According to published reports, Adams' visits to Cincinnati and Green Bay were canceled after the clubs learned of his contract demands. Adams initially wanted a five- to seven-year contract worth $5 million a season. The Ravens won't be willing to pay that much, according to a team source, especially with Adams working in a rotation.
Adams was a first-round pick, No. 8 overall, of the Seahawks' in 1994. His agent, Angelo Wright, was not available for comment yesterday.
Dillon has been one of the league's top running backs since 1997 when he rushed for 1,129 yards as a rookie and second-round draft pick out of Washington. As a restricted free agent, the Ravens have until April 10 to sign Dillon to an offer sheet, which the Bengals have the opportunity to match or accept compensation from the Ravens to approve their deal.
But the Ravens usually have players visit the team's training complex before they sign them. As of late last night, the Ravens had no plans to have Dillon visit Baltimore.
"At this time, I don't think we're going to be able to pursue Corey Dillon as a restricted free agent," said Newsome, who has not been optimistic about signing Dillon since the season ended.
NOTE: The team signed free-agent offensive lineman Orlando Bobo yesterday. Bobo, 6-3 and 300 pounds, is entering his fourth season in the NFL. He has played in 19 games with one start. He played in nine games for Cleveland last year, with one start at right guard.