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Team clears cap space, aims to keep free agents

The Ravens have restructured the contract of offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, which is expected to give the team enough salary cap room to keep the franchise tag on linebacker Terrell Suggs and re-sign their restricted free agents.

Ogden's salary has been reduced from $7.5 million to $2.5 million, which creates $5 million in cap space, according to players union records.

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It's likely the $5 million has been converted into bonuses Ogden would receive if he attends offseason camps and training camp.

But the Ravens might not have to pay those bonuses because Ogden said last month that he is still leaning toward retiring.

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The Ravens, who earlier restructured the contract of tight end Todd Heap, would have about $11.3 million in salary cap space before making any moves.

Nearly all of that cap room will be devoted to keeping Suggs ($8 million) and three restricted free agents: guard Jason Brown (a second-round tender of $1.47 million, which would compensate the Ravens with a second-round pick if another team signs him), backup fullback Justin Green ($927,000) and long snapper Matt Katula ($927,000).

Notes -- O.J. Brigance will receive the Johnny Unitas Tops in Courage Award at the Ed Block Courage Awards on March 11. Brigance was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease) in May 2007 and has continued as the Ravens' director of player development while dealing with his illness. ... Wide receiver Derrick Mason has donated $25,000 to Rebuilding Together Baltimore, which works to improve the lives of low-income homeowners. ... At the NFL combine yesterday, Ozzie Newsome, Ravens general manager, was asked by ESPN who would start at quarterback next season. "If you had to say right now, it would be Steve McNair," he said, adding that it's only February.jamison.hensley@baltsun.com


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