Ravens linebacker Jamie Sharper's selection in Monday's expansion draft by the Houston Texans is a "done deal," according to league sources.
Two pieces of evidence support such a claim. First, Sharper's locker at the Ravens' Owings Mills training facility has been cleared out, and the nameplate over the locker has been removed. Second, sources say the Texans plan to have Sharper, along with a handful of other players, in Houston for the draft as part of the ceremony.
"There is a strong chance that Jamie will be taken in the expansion draft, and we already have plans in place if that were to happen," said Ravens senior vice president of football operations Ozzie Newsome.
Sharper's agent, Tony Agnone, is preparing his client for the inevitable. "He's looking forward to the challenge," Agnone said. "Of course he will be disappointed about not being in Baltimore, though."
Sharper is expected to be one of the first five selections made by the Texans, and possibly the top overall pick. Since Sharper's name was placed on the Ravens' list a little more than two weeks ago, Houston has reportedly shown interest. Sharper, who started 79 of 80 games in his five-year career, was second on the Ravens last year in tackles (135) and recorded a career-high six sacks this season.
The Ravens also placed return specialist Jermaine Lewis, offensive tackle Kipp Vickers, defensive end Rob Burnett and linebacker Brad Jackson on their unprotected list.
The Texans have expressed interest in Lewis, too, and he was brought in for a physical. Sharper, who has a cap number of $3.6 million, took a physical for Houston last week.
Once Sharper is selected, the Ravens can choose to remove one of the remaining four players off the list. But Newsome said the Ravens are unlikely to exercise such an option, which will probably allow Houston to select Lewis. In fact, league sources say the Texans will "almost certainly" select Lewis and his $4.1 million cap number.
The Ravens are nearly $21 million over the salary cap, and losing Sharper and Lewis would clear $7.7 million from that.