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Old 11-04-2008, 11:57 AM   #66
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Posted by Mike Florio on November 4, 2008, 1:02 p.m.

Our friends at WNST in Baltimore report that the Ravens are close to reaching an agreement on a five-year contract extension with linebacker Ray Lewis.

Lewis, whose deal was due to expire at the end of the season, will reportedly receive guaranteed money in the amount of $16 million.

As an unnamed team official told Drew Forrester, on whose show we appear every Friday during the football season: “Ray’s going to be in Baltimore next year and for a while after that. . . it’s been discussed and reviewed and nothing has changed in our mind. Ray is going to be here and he’s going to finish his career in purple. We know the numbers, financially, and we’re going to make them work.”

Said another team employee: “Ray’s value to us is much higher than it would be with any other team in the league.”

Monday was the deadline for counting any 2008 salary increases against the 2008 salary cap number. But as pointed out recently on the NFLPA web site, teams and players may continue to work out contracts that take advantage of any remaining 2008 cap room. The only glitch is that any actual base salary increases for the current year must be prorated like a signing bonus.

Several years ago, Lewis was openly clamoring for a new contract. The team held firm in its refusal to re-do the deal.

Under his current deal, Lewis is receiving a base salary of $6.5 million.

Lewis is an original Raven, drafted in the first round of the team’s first draft in Baltimore. Also selected in that same round was left tackle Jonathan Ogden, who retired after the 2007 season. Both undoubtedly will land in Canton.
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